On Saturday May 11, 2013 the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team was at the Salt River east of Scottsdale conducting swift water training. At approximately 1:15 pm, team members were on either side of the river at the confluence of the Salt and Verde Rivers with one volunteer on a large rock formation on the south side setting up a rope system, while other volunteers and Coordinators were on the north side readying for the training.
One Coordinator and volunteer, Bill Jordan, observed a small girl who was approximately six years old slip into the water and be pulled into the main current. The girl’s nine year old brother dove into the water after her and both were trying to stop themselves on the rocks below volunteer, Eric Brooks, on the south side of the river. The personnel on the north side of the river yelled to get the attention of volunteer Brooks and pointed to the children in the water. Volunteer Brooks went to the side of the river where the nine year old boy got out of the main current while the six year old girl was pulled back into the water. Volunteer Brooks dove into the water and grabbed the girl just as she was being pulled under by the strong current and he was able to get her safely to shore. Volunteer Brooks checked both children to make sure they were physically safe before turning them over to their father, who had made it out to an island near where the event took place. Neither child was wearing a life vest.
The twelve member team continued their training for the remainder of the day and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the incident, as well as the Arizona State Search and Rescue Coordinator. Volunteer Brooks will be recommended to receive the life saving award from the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Dannels said today, “We are proud to have the dedicated men and women volunteers be part of the Sheriff’s Office team and to have them perform these types of selfless acts reflects highly on all of us. I personally commend Volunteer Brooks for his act of heroism in a situation that saved at least one young life.”
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