MAHTOMEDI — Through the quick-thinking of a couple of teenage girls, a young boy was rescued from a near drowning at Mahtomedi Beach June 8. 

Emily Emerson, 14, said she and a friend were playing with some young children they had just met at the beach that evening when a young boy, age 6 or 7, jumped off the dock.

“He was showing off a little bit,” Emily said. The boy began to bob up and down in the water and Emily and her friend became concerned. The other younger children who knew him said he was fine, that he acted like this in the water all the time. 

But the older girls knew better. “We realized that when he was splashing, he was reaching for the ledge and couldn't quite reach it,” Emily said. She had water rescue training as part of her Red Cross babysitting course. She jumped in the water and pulled him to shore. 

“He was just shaking and crying,” she said. “He was in so much shock that he wasn't saying anything.” Emily brought him to the middle-aged babysitter he came with but Emily said she expressed little concern over the near-drowning. The babysitter left without calling for medical assistance. The children had said they were from across the Twin Cities, so she didn't know who they were. 

“It just kind of scares me that his mom may never know about this,” Emily noted. 

She learned a lesson at the beach that day she hopes everyone can take to heart: “Watch out for other kids even if they are not your own,” she said. 

The water in White Bear Lake is much higher than usual, added Emily's mother Becky. Even though she is 5 feet, 10 inches tall, Emily could not touch the bottom where she rescued the young boy from drowning. Becky warns all parents that their children may not realize how high the water is this year.

“For these kids, in their memory, it has never been this high,” Becky noted. “They think they can go out to where they were last year.”

The beach was also quite crowded that night, Becky said. It's surprising this could occur in the midst of so many people, but when water gets into someone's lungs, they often can't make noise. 

There is no lifeguard at Mahtomedi Beach until June 16. Becky said she has always told her children they cannot go past their shoulders if there is no lifeguard at the beach, even though they are strong swimmers.

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