BAY VILLAGE, Ohio - Rangers said three people were taken to the hospital – including a lifeguard -- after two people in a school group had to be rescued at Huntington Beach in Bay Village Monday morning.
According to the Cleveland Metroparks, a group from PEP Hopewell Day Treatment Center was on the Lake Erie beach for a school trip before it officially opened. A 9-year-old girl, Diamond Harris, and 46-year-old Laura Recco, were in the water and needed assistance at about 10:44 a.m.
"The beach opens at 11 o'clock, so this was prior to lifeguards being on duty. But they were here and able to help out prior to their shift," said Jane Christyson with Cleveland Metroparks.
Rangers said seven lifeguards ran to help, as well as a bystander, Clint Kranes, of Elyria, who was at the beach with his daughters and their friend when he heard a woman screaming that a child had disappeared.
"I honestly hope everybody comes out of it OK," Kranes said. "That's all that matters. I'm exhausted but it was worth it."
They were able to pull the two to shore, but one of the lifeguards, 19-year-old Christian Pesarchick, also suffered injuries during the rescue attempt.
Bob Gregory is the father of one of the seven lifeguards who jumped into the lake to help.
"I'm proud of him," said Gregory. "He was called to action, have to go and that lake is choppy."
Harris, Recco and Pesarchick were taken to St. John Westshore Hospital for treatment, and Harris was then transferred to Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital. Kranes did not require any medical treatment.
According to the hospitals, Recco is in the intensive care unit in critical condition, Harris is in stable condition and Pesarchick was treated and released. At the scene, rangers said all three were alive when they were taken to the hospital.
Initial reports from police said two of the victims were found breathing, and one was not breathing.
The Positive Education Program issued this statement to NewsChannel5 about the incident:
"Today, as part of a special end of school outing, a group of five students who attend Positive Education Program Hopewell Day Treatment Center went to Huntington Beach in Bay Village with four of their teachers. As they were wading in the water, a teacher noticed changing conditions in the water. When it appeared a student was being pulled farther out, the teacher reached to bring the child to safety. In the teacher's efforts to reach the child, the teacher was swept under. Both the child and the teacher were rescued from the water, and taken to a nearby hospital for care.
"We are grateful to all who helped rescue them to safety and we are monitoring their conditions closely. Our hearts and thoughts are with our colleague and our child, as their safety and well-being remain our highest concern."
The beach has been closed for the rest of the day due to weather conditions.
According to a statement from the National Weather Service, a rip current statement was issued at 9:42 a.m. Monday until 8 p.m., and said waves could be expected to be 4 to 6 feet high.
"A high risk of rip currents means that rip currents will be dangerous and may be life threatening to anyone entering the lake. Heed the advice of lifeguards and local officials. Pay attention to posted signs and flags," said the NWS statement.
The Metroparks said its lifeguards are Red Cross-certified and take part in rigorous in-service training. Regular summer swimming hours at Huntington Beach run 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Keep checking newsnet5.com for more information.