Life ring, relatives credited with saving 16-year-old from drowning in Port Austin

Life Ring: MGN Online
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PORT AUSTIN (WJRT) (8/19/2019) - A 16-year-old who wanted to dip her toes into Lake Huron fell off the Port Austin breakwall on Saturday, but police say a life ring and her relatives saved her life.

The girl from Warren climbed part way down a ladder embedded on the west side of the breakwall facing Lake Huron, but she fell off and landed in the choppy water around 2 p.m. She struggled to keep her head above water, according to the Huron County Sheriff's Office.

Bystanders ran to the end of the breakwall from to retrieve a life ring and back to where the girl fell in about three-quarters of the way down the structure from shore. The girl grabbed the life ring and two relatives age 22 and 15 jumped in to help while rescue crews responded.

The Port Austin Fire Department brought an inflatable boat around the breakwall and pulled all three people from the water after about 20 minutes.

All three were exhausted and received minor injuries from waves slamming them into the wall. They were treated by Central Huron Ambulance at the scene and refused transport to an area hospital.

Sheriff Kelly Hanson said the life ring saved at least one person from drowning.

"Wall goers are strongly discouraged from leaving the walkway, as many people over the years have died from swimming accidents, or similar activities like what happened (Saturday)," he said.