GASTON, Ore. -- Eight children were sent to the hospital after they nearly drowned while on a family outing. Those eight kids were rescued from Hagg Lake in Gaston just before 5 p.m. Saturday.
All eight kids, ages 6 to 13 years old, were taken to several local hospitals. They have non-life threatening injuries, but it was a very close call.
Witnesses told firefighters they saw one child get into trouble in the deep water so other siblings rushed to save her. But the kids rushing to the rescue didn't know there was a sudden drop off. They also quickly found themselves struggling in the water.
The kids' family started yelling and screaming for help. Another family having a reunion nearby ran into the water and quickly pulled some of the kids out by passing them hand to hand to the shore.
The rescuers said two of the children were not breathing when pulled to shore but started breathing again before crews arrived.
“But in the process of saving the other ones, one of the rescuers stepped on the hand or the leg of one the other children who was at the bottom that they had not seen. When she felt the child, they’re able to pull that child out as well,” said Ken Bilderback spokesperson for the Gaston Fire Department.
The children were breathing on their own before four ambulances, Washington County sheriff’s deputies and Gaston firefighters showed up.
Bilderback said there were free life jackets available but none of the kids were wearing them.
officials can't stress how important it is for children to wear life jackets.
Bilderback said the family who saved these eight kids are heroes. The Gaston Fire Department plans on honoring them with a special event soon.