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Teen girls jump into Lake Washington, rescue drowning paddle boarder

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From left, Jessie Page, Zoe Farrell and Alexis Koester explain how they jumped into Lake Washington Monday to rescue a man floating face down in the water. (Photo: KCPQ-TV)


KIRKLAND — Three teenage girls saw a paddle boarder floating face down in Lake Washington, jumped in and swam to him and brought him to land, where another teenage girl administered CPR and helped save his life, authorities said.

The 17-year-old girls, who attend Lake Washington High School, say the CPR they learned in health class played a big role in their heroic action saving a drowning man near Kirkland.

The incident happened at about 4 p.m. near Kirkland’s Settler’s Landing Park, the Fire Department said, when three high school girls — Jessie Page, Zoe Farrell, Alexis Koester and Erica Stewart  — noticed a paddle board about 50 yards off shore and a man floating face down in the water near it.

“We all looked over to our left and there was just an empty paddle board with no one on it,” said Farrell.

They risked embarrassment and swam over to poke the man near it.

“I tapped him and we got no response, so we flipped him over and got him up on his board,” said Koester.

The man was unconscious but coughed a little so they knew he was alive. They quickly pushed his board to shore where other friends helped get him on the dock. That’s where Stewart was on the phone with 911. She knew, though, that she needed to act quickly so she started administering CPR.

“It wasn’t really like a think first kind of thing, it was like you need to do this right now,” said Stewart.

She says she could tell he had family from the ring on his hand and just wanted to get him home to them safely.

So where did she learn CPR?

“Health class, Mr. Minky.”

King County sheriff’s Sgt. Charlie Akers credits the teens for their heroic efforts. “They were CPR-trained, they took immediate action and if this gentleman survives, and we hope and pray that he does, it will be thanks to these young people,” said Akers.

The victim is only being identified as a 54-year-old man.

Koester adds, “It’s good to know we were able to help, obviously we wish we could have done more but we did everything we could.”


Alexis Koester and Erica Stewart, right, administered CPR to victim pulled from Lake Washington. (Photo: KCPQ-TV)

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