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Two men rescue girl from Willmar lake; airlifted to Twin Cities hospital

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WILLMAR — An 11-year-old Willmar girl was airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis after she was rescued from the waters of Foot Lake Thursday afternoon.

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According to Willmar Police Capt. Jim Felt, emergency responders were called around 3:46 p.m. that a child was unaccounted for and underwater. By the time police officers, deputies from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office and Willmar Ambulance crews arrived, bystanders had found the girl, brought her to the beach and started CPR.

The quick response helped restore the girl’s pulse and respirations, Felt said. She was then taken to Rice Memorial Hospital and airlifted to Children’s. Her condition is not currently known to investigators.

According to information gathered from witnesses at the scene, the girl was with a group of friends swimming in the marked swimming area at the Robbins Island beach. When the friends couldn’t find her, they notified an adult, who called 911.

Two men, Daniel Ruter and Robert Rodriguez, both of Willmar, went into the water and searched for the girl. They found her in about 7 feet of water.

Two others, Melissa Bobrowski and Travis Toews, both lifeguards from Canada in town for Sonshine, then stepped in and began CPR on the girl.

The estimated time that the girl was unaccounted for, and possible underwater, was 3 to 4 minutes, Felt said.

The citizens who stepped forward to find the girl and begin CPR get full credit for saving the girl, Felt said. He hopes they get some formal recognition for their efforts in the future.

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Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

(320) 214-4373
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