Rescue of toddler who survived river crash caught on video – CNN
(CNN)“There’s a baby. There’s a baby.”
The frantic voices of rescuers can be heard on the body cam video showing the moment baby Lily was found one week ago.
The 18-month-old girl hangs upside down after her mother’s car crashed and flipped into a frigid Utah river some 14 hours earlier.
A firefighter is seen lifting her tiny body, wrapped in pink, from the red car where Lily’s mother, Lynn Jennifer Groesbeck, 25, lost her life.
The car landed on its roof in the Spanish Fork River.
From the murky waters, the rescuer hands baby Lily to a police officer. He dashes up the rocky banks of the Spanish Fork, pressing the infant close to his chest for warmth.
“Got it,” the officer is heard saying.
Lily is freezing.
“Come on, baby,” he says. “She’s definitely hypothermic.”
In the ambulance, the officer pats little Lily on the back in an attempt to get her breathing. Lily is on her side. She looks pale, her tiny arm appears stiff.
“Come on, sweetie,” the officer implores. “Come on, sweetie.”
On the ambulance to a hospital, rescuers perform CPR. They try to warm her.
“We’re almost there,” one rescuer is heard to say. “Are you getting a pulse?”
“I can’t feel anything,” says another.
At the hospital, as Lily is rushed into the emergency room, she vomits.
“We’ve been doing CPR on her,” the officer tells emergency room personnel. “She’s been throwing up a little bit.”
Car seat made the difference
Those moments captured by the body cam video — which first aired on CNN affiliate KSL — were crucial.
“If anything had been different, she might not have made it,” emergency room doctor Brock Royall told the station.
In the ER, Lily opened her eyes as CPR was performed to get her heart pumping, Royall said.
Another important factor was a car seat.
Lily was in the proper car seat for her age, and the seat appears to have been properly attached.
Even though the child was trapped and upside-down, her body remained in the seat and above the frigid water. Doctors say that such low temperatures are dangerous, but even more dangerous if the baby had gotten wet.
“She seems to be doing great,” said Officer Jason Howard of the Spanish Fork Police Department. “We were able to get together with her and her family. She was happy and smiling. Seemed to be a normal and happy, healthy baby.”
Howard said the toddler temporarily was staying with an aunt and uncle.
Her father, Deven Trafny, 34, was out of town on a job at the time of the accident, CNN affiliate KUTV reported. He rushed to his daughter’s side as soon as he heard.
“(I) came in, I put my finger in her hand, and I told her her Dad was here, and I love her,” he told reporters Wednesday. “I haven’t left her bedside since, and I’ve just been here just sitting next to her waiting for her to get better so she can come home.”
Trafny said that Lily is awake and has been singing nursery rhymes. Video of the two of them at a hospital shows her waving at a camera.
“She knows everything she knew before anything happened. It’s amazing. Doctors say it’s amazing,” he said.
Lily might have died unseen with her mother had a man not gone fishing in that particular spot last Saturday. The angler waded into the river around noon, then noticed the car wheels-up in the water. The fisherman called emergency dispatch.
The water was so cold that, when the rescue was over, seven of the men involved had to be treated for hypothermia.
They heaved the car onto its side and saw Groesbeck in the driver’s seat. It was clear to them that she was dead.
Lily was still strapped into her seat, where she may have been for 14 hours, if the wreck occurred at about 10:30 Friday night, as police believe.
Trafny described Groesbeck as the love of his life, according to KUTV: “I’m going to miss her a lot. I still have to deal with that.”
But he also considers himself lucky to still have his daughter — healthy and alive.
“I’m just blessed. I’m counting all my blessings right now,” said Trafny.