A pregnant woman is being praised as a hero after saving three children who were struggling to swim in Lake Michigan’s rip currents.
Alyssa DeWitt, who is five months pregnant, was spending a day at Lake Michigan on Tuesday when she noticed a pair of hands sticking up from the water near the First Street Beach Pier.
According to DeWitt, who was on the beach at the time, she immediately ran to the edge of the pier, at which point she saw three children struggling to get out of the rough waters.
“A group of kids were getting pulled out into the lake and slammed against the pier wall. They could barely keep their heads above water. They were literally drowning in front of my eyes and there was not one person on that side of the beach I could scream to for help. It was empty,” she recalled in a Facebook post about the incident.
Speaking to WPBN, DeWitt, a Michigan resident, revealed that by the time she got to the edge of the water, the children, who were all under the age of 15, couldn’t keep their heads above water.
In an effort to receive assistance, the expecting mother said she immediately called 911, but struggled to hear both the phone call and the children over the noise of the crashing waves.
Rather than wait for first responders, DeWitt told the outlet that she placed her phone on the pier and reached over into the water to try to help the three children.
“I put my phone down with 911 on and laid down over the side of the pier and told them what to do, reach for my hand,” she said. “Every time I would get them part way up a wave would smash them back down.”
During the terrifying ordeal, one of the children stuck in the lake expressed her fear that she was going to die, a moment DeWitt said would stick with her “forever”.
“This part will stick with me forever. This girl looked at me and said: ‘I’m going to die.’ It makes me cry every time I think about it,” she recalled. “I said: ‘I promise you. I am not going to let you die out here. I will get you out of this water.’”
Despite the rough riptides, DeWitt was able to pull each of the children out of the water and over the pier wall, telling the outlet that she doesn’t “know how, but I did”.
Following the rescue, the Michigan mother said that “a lot of tears and hugs were shared yesterday. I know they were thankful."
According to WPBN, police arrived just minutes after DeWitt had successfully rescued the drowning children, with Manistee City Police Chief Josh Glass telling the outlet that the situation likely would have ended differently had it not been for her intervention.
“Thankfully, all parties involved sustained minor injuries, but without the actions of this heroic young lady could have easily turned out differently,” he said. “Especially being a father of young children, it’s extremely impressive the way this young lady called to action without hesitation and I think it’s pretty obvious what would have happened if she wasn’t there.”
On Facebook, DeWitt, who also reportedly went to the hospital after the incident to confirm she and her unborn child are okay, said that she is “beyond thankful I was where I was and that those kids get to live another day”.
“I'm loving my babies a little harder tonight, I’m sure those parents are too,” she wrote.