7-year-old boy saved from drowning by 8-year-old sister - WNEM TV 5

7-year-old boy saved from drowning by 8-year-old sister

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A Michigan boy is in intensive care after he nearly drowned in the St. Joseph River. Police say his big sister’s quick thinking likely saved his life.

Seven-year-old Chad Fenwick is in stable condition. His father said he’ll make a full recovery.

Investigators said Chad and his eight-year-old sister, Charity Fenwick, were playing on the banks of the St. Joseph River Wednesday afternoon.

“We didn't not think it was a bad at the time…the water looks so harmless,” Charity said.

Before she knew it, Chad started to go under.

“He was kind of drifting out and the water was pushing him over there. His head was actually under water. He kept yelling ‘Help! Help!’” Charity said.

Police said Charity jumped into the river and grabbed her brother. She held him to a branch for at least four minutes until their father arrived.

“She had a hold of that branch. She had a hold of his shirt. She was not letting go at all,” said the children’s father, Chad Fenwick.

The father then pulled his two kids from the water and started performing CPR on his son.

“I thought he was going to be gone,” the father said.

Soon after, Michigan State Police Trooper Erik Gantert arrived on scene.

“He was laying on the ground. He was blue and purple,” Gantert said.

Gantert immediately stepped in and after 15 minutes of life-saving efforts, the boy started regaining color and breathing on his own. 

The boy was taken to Bronson Hospital. Doctors said he'll make a full recovery, but it won't be easy.

“He's finally starting to respond. He's opening his eyes a bit. Still has a lot of water in lungs and has an infection pretty bad,” the boy’s father said.

Both the responding office and the children’s dad said Charity’s actions saved her little brother’s life.

“A lot of people wouldn't have done what she did. She’s the real hero,” the children’s father said.

Family said neither Charity nor her brother knew how to swim.

The family said it could be weeks before Chad is released from the hospital.

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