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Heroic sorority sisters rescue family from sinking car


Burke County Sheriff's Office - Georgia Facebook Page

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 04/15/24

Five young women jumped into action to save a mother and her young sons from a terrifying and dangerous situation.

Five sorority sisters were enjoying a short weekend road trip from their University of Georgia campus to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Savannah, Georgia, when they encountered a terrifying and dangerous situation. 

With rare courage and quick thinking, they rose to the occasion to rescue a mother and her two young sons from their sinking vehicle after it fell into a creek, leading to national recognition and accolades. Here’s what happened.

Molly McCollum, Jane McArdle, Eleanor Cart, Clarke Jones and Kaitlyn Lannace were driving to Savannah on March 15 when a lunch detour led them to be rerouted through a rural area.

The Burke County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office explained what happened next in a Facebook post: 

These young women observed a white SUV leave the roadway and roll over into the creek at Ellison Bridge Rd. They quickly turned around, went to the crash site, and without hesitation jumped in the water and pulled the driver and two children out of the vehicle. 

The driver lost control of her SUV with her two young sons sitting in the backseat. Her car veered off the road and into a creek, where it began sinking rapidly. 

Courage, quick thinking, and CPR to the rescue

The young women heard her screaming for help and immediately sprang into action, calling 911 and jumping into the water to pull the children from the vehicle. 

It took them several minutes to reach the younger child, age 4, and he was unresponsive when pulled from the water. Thankfully, one of the college students, Clarke Jones, knew CPR. She told Good Morning America:

I was a lifeguard in high school for one summer, so I just remembered it from then. We had no clue if he was going to survive at all. And so, I’m like, “This is the one thing I know how to do that I can help. And so, I’m just going to give it my best try.”

Thankfully, he began breathing, a triumphant and emotional moment. Soon after, first responders arrived, and later on the local sheriff office went on to honor the young women as honorary Burke County deputies. 

These young women are such an inspiring example, not only of courage and quick thinking, but also of a rare willingness to help. In our individualistic society, how often do any of us stop to help a stranger in need? Their compassion and concern for others saved a family in desperate need and inspired countless other people.

If this story made you realize that it might come in handy to know CPR, check out this online tutorial. And if you ever find yourself trapped in a car sinking underwater, you can find here an important acronym laying out the steps to follow.

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