JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. – Jefferson County residents were honored with a life-saving award Friday after saving a 4-year-old from drowning in the Big River.
On June 12, the Josephson’s were kayaking along the Big River in Jefferson County when they notice their 4-year-old daughter, Liliana went missing.
“We went over a branch, and her bathing suit bottom got caught,” said Nichole Josephson, Liliana’s mother. “She was on the back of my kayak floating. Kayak has a string and she was holding onto that, it was a flat part of the river, so she was floating on the back of that with her life vest.”
Liliana was underwater for approximately five minutes. Both of her parents were screaming. One resident nearby heard the screams and jumped into his boat to locate the girl.
“The mom was in distress looking for her baby girl,” said Calvin Derousse, one of the rescuers. “I just jump to my boat and ran straight up the river in my boat. Jump right on top of her and pulled her out of the water and into the boat.”
Derousse was able to bring the girl to shore and another resident joined in to help.
“She wasn’t breathing, she was unconscious, she was blue. So, I just started CPR, we were on the loading ramp, and thankfully Tori came down and helped,” said Tiffany Storey. “I was relieved I had someone else there to help.”
Storey and Victoria Menning, another rescuer took turns performing CPR until Liliana was able to regain consciousness. They had called 911 and a helicopter took the girl to the hospital where she recovered.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office had awarded Derousse, Storey, and Menning a life-saving award. However, the three of them said they were not comfortable with the honor.
“We’ve been called a hero and that’s definitely not what we want to be called. We were just in the right place at the right time,” Menning said.