Teens Rescue Drowning Girl At Cummins Falls

Posted at 10:30 PM, Jun 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-01 23:43:07-04

Isaiah, John, Levi and Randall are a group of four friends from Cookeville who were looking for a relaxing day in the water. Instead, they sprung into action when needed, and saved a young girl's life.

The group is what you could call Cummins Falls regulars. With one of the best natural pools in the state close by they visit every week.

"Whenever it's summertime nice and warm we come out and swim, hang out," said Randall Elston.

In fact, they're at the Falls so often, Tuesday they almost didn't go. That was a decision that may have changed a young girl's life.

"God definitely sent us down at the right time," John Douwes said, speaking with a park ranger about what happened.

It started when Randall spotted some gear in the water.

"I'd seen the life jacket and the pair of flip flops floating the the water and I thought 'shouldn't there be a kid?'" he said.

A large church group had lost track of a 13-year-old girl. And it turns out, she couldn't swim.

"I seen on their face that something wasn't right," said Levi Brewington.

Luckily, the guys usually come prepared, with clothes, medical supplies and backpacks. That day they even brought goggles to navigate the murky water.

Isaiah Alvarez spotted her first, partially hidden by a rock 13 feet down.

"She was motionless at the bottom," he recalled.

He called for the guys who dove and brought her to the surface where others helped revive her. It was a sigh of relief when she started breathing and even talking again.

"She was conscious, she responded to her name, age, what her mother's cell phone number was," John said.

"It got pretty hectic," Randall recalled.

They say their favorite watering hole is usually much more relaxing.

"We're just happy that we were here when it happened," said John.

But they were glad to help.

That  way others may love coming to the Falls as much as this group of regulars do.

"If it didn't end well it would've been a lot harder to swim here," Randall said.

To get the girl out of the park with its rugged terrain the State Park THP aviation and Special Operations team flew in for a rope rescue. Once safely landed, she was Lifeflighted to Vanderbilt.

She is expected to be okay.

This was the 7th rescue at the park this year and Park Rangers say rescues are down from this time last year.

"We're getting a lot of people who simply can't swim who are getting water over their head," said Park Ranger Ray Cutcher. He says many of the other injuries are due to the rocky nature of the park when people slip and fall.

There were 40 rescues from the park last year.