Virginia first responders recount river rescue of infant, woman after possible attempted drowning

HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) — After an alleged attempted drowning of a baby boy, not yet a year old, Hopewell police and fire officials recalled the harrowing morning rescue effort Monday.

“We did what we were trained to do,” Police Lieutenant Mike Langford told 8News.

First responders were called to the 500-block of Riverside Avenue around 10:27 Monday morning after bystanders were said to have seen a woman enter the Appomattox River along with the child.

Once they arrived, police say officers dashed into the water and recovered the unconscious boy, as the woman — believed to be the infant’s mother — went further out in the river.

“Our crews and police also did CPR on the child, got return of circulation and transported the child to VCU Medical Center,” Fire Marshal Jamie Scott said, who was at the helm of the rescue boat.

Because of the heightened risk, someone may get hypothermia in the cold water, Scott said “emotions were definitely heightened on this call.”

“We got her on the boat and we headed back to shore because we knew she had been in the water an unknown amount of time, for at least five to 10 minutes, and we were concerned of her medical conditions,” Langford said.

Monday afternoon, fire crews returned to the city’s marina to bring that same rescue boat to shore.

A criminal investigation is underway as police seek more information from anyone with knowledge of what transpired leading up to the possible attempted drowning.

Police have not yet said if the woman has been criminally charged after being sent to nearby John Randolph Medical Center.

Despite having a small amount of water in his lungs, Langford said Monday afternoon the boy is recovering well at VCU Medical Center in Richmond.

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