Life jacket, air pocket help save child after family’s boat capsizes in Florida

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COCOA, Fla. — A life jacket, determined rescuers and an unlikely pocket of air kept a boat accident from turning into tragedy over the weekend, according to the Cocoa, Florida, Police Department.

A family of four was returning from dinner when their boat apparently struck power lines, causing the vessel to flip over and send the passengers, including two young children, plunging into the darkened waters of the Indian River in Brevard County, Cocoa police say. Authorities responded quickly and rescuers located the two adults and one of the children from the capsized boat.

The relief of rescue was short-lived as one of the boaters, Tammy Bossard, realized her 23-month-old daughter was still missing. Bossard says she heard the anxious cries of the little girl, but she was nowhere to be found.

“We heard (her) crying and we couldn’t find her,” Bossard said. ” I jumped in the water and tried to search but couldn’t hear where the crying was coming from.”

The family looked on in anguish as officers spent nearly an hour in the water looking for the toddler, according to Cocoa police. The family’s faith and the officers’ persistence was rewarded when Officer Matt Rush and Cpl. Alan Worthy located the little girl trapped underneath the overturned boat in an air pocket that had been created when the boat flipped over.

The toddler was still wearing the life jacket her parents placed on her when they set out on their trip. Bossard’s eyes filled with tears of gratitude as she thanked the rescuers for “saving our baby and saving our world.”

“I can’t imagine, I just can’t imagine…” Bossard said as her voice trailed off.

The little girl was in good condition after the rescue, according to police, and was taken along with her family to a local hospital for evaluation after the incident.

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