BOULDER CITY, Nev. — At a time of what seems like never-ending COVID -19 news, it’s good to have a story with a happy ending once in a while.

Here is one, courtesy of the National Park Service and Nevada Department of Wildlife in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

A 3-year-old girl was rescued from under a capsized boat on Lake Mead when more than a dozen members of a church group were thrown into the water by the extremely rough wind-generated waves during a Mother’s Day boat trip Sunday night.

Nevada Department of Wildlife game wardens responded to a report of an overturned vessel in Swallow Bay on the northwestern side of Lake Mead around 7:25 p.m. When they arrived, they found the water littered with men, women and children. Luckily, most of the victims were wearing life jackets. 

“Lake Mead can often times surprise boaters when the wind picks up without warning, so we respond to accidents like this on a pretty consistent basis.” said Game Warden Thomas Hamblin. “But to see that many people in the water was definitely out of the ordinary.”

The first game wardens to arrive began pulling victims out of the water. That was when one of the victims reported that a 3-year-old was missing and believed to be stuck under the boat. 

By this time two other NDOW boats, along with rangers from the National Park Service had arrived on scene. 

Several game wardens and rangers entered the water and held the bow of the vessel above water in an effort to keep the vessel from sinking as Game Warden Sean Flynn swam under the boat to find the girl. Flynn found the frightened girl in an air bubble near the stern of the vessel along the centerline. 

He was able to pull the child to safety where she was immediately examined by NPS medical personnel.

“As I made my way down the centerline of the boat, I was expecting the worst” said Flynn. ”I brought the flashlight under the water to illuminate the rear section and I saw her arm and immediately grabbed it. She moved when I grabbed her arm and I was able to light up her face. I immediately felt a rush and yelled out to the rest of the team.”

NDOW game wardens and NPS rangers finished pulling all the victims from the water and transported them to safety along with the capsized boat. 

No one required medical treatment.

“I am proud of the dedication our game wardens display every day in keeping the public safe,” said Chief Game Warden Mike Maynard. “You get into this job to hopefully make a difference and our game wardens definitely did that today. 

“Without the professionalism and courage of our wardens and the National Park Service, this situation could have easily ended tragically.”  

Mother’s Day was especially busy on Lake Mead with NDOW and NPS responding to more than 80 incidents, including two capsized vessels.

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