LINCOLN, R.I. (WPRI) — What started as a family celebration turned into a harrowing rescue for a Fall River man.
Andre Moraes told 12 News that he and his family were at Lincoln Woods State Park Beach Sunday evening for a birthday party when he heard screaming from the water.
The commotion sent the father of four running for the lake.
“I didn’t really know that there was someone drowning, but I saw his mom running back and forth trying to tell us he was underwater and was drowning,” Moraes, who speaks Portuguese, explained with the help of a translator.
It took Moraes a few dives to reach the victim, identified by the R.I. Department of Environmental Management (DEM) as a 15-year-old boy, who was unconscious at the bottom of the lake.
“I went all the way to the bottom and there he was,” Moraes continued. “I grabbed him by his shorts … and I pulled him as hard as I could to the top.”
Moraes described swimming the teenager to the surface as taxing, adding that there were several moments where he struggled to breathe.
“I was trying to push him up because I knew he needed air, and so did I,” Moraes explained. “When I got him to the surface, I tried to yell as hard as I could that [I had him].”
Moraes said other bystanders helped him get the boy to shore, where he immediately began performing CPR on him.
That’s when the lifeguards, who had just finished their shifts, rushed back to the beach to help, according to Moraes.
The boy was rushed to Hasbro Children’s Hospital where he remains in critical condition.
Moraes said the ordeal was emotionally devastating, and he’s hoping for a miracle.
“When I saw the desperation in the mother’s eyes … it’s unimaginable,” he said. “I did as much as I could to help.”
It appears that the teenager went out beyond the designated swimming area to retrieve a ball he had been playing with, according to the DEM.
The incident should serve as a reminder to follow the proper safety measures when heading to the beach, the DEM said, especially when children and teenagers are involved.