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Near-drowning of girl leaves 12-year-old would-be rescuer hospitalized

SCHOOLCRAFT TOWNSHIP — A 12-year-old boy was air lifted to the University of Michigan Children’s Hospital Tuesday after a near-drowning incident in which he attempted to rescue his 8-year-old sister.

At 2:33 p.m. Tuesday, deputies from the Houghton County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to Big Traverse Beach, near Rice Lake, in response to a report that four people were drowning in Lake Superior.

An eight-year-old girl was swept out into Lake Superior by current, and three other people attempted to save her, but were also taken by the current, according to a release from the Sheriff’s Office.

“They were at the mouth of the slough (at the mouth of the Traverse River),” said Undersheriff Kevin Coppo, “and, according to the deputy’s report, they could no longer touch bottom, and got pulled out in the current.”

The children’s mom yelled for help, he said, and a number of people on the beach, not family members, went out to the children, and were able to get them back to shore.

Coppo said that when his deputy arrived at the scene, first responders were already conducting CPR on the boy.

The boy, from lower Michigan, was treated by first responders, and was transported to Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital’s Emergency Room. He was later air lifted to the U of M Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.

Coppo said the boy’s condition remains unknown as of Wednesday afternoon.

In addition to the Sheriff’s Office, Bootjack First Responders, Lake Linden Police Department, and Mercy Ambulance assisted at the scene.

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