Twelve-year-old's survival after Mahoning River plunge called a - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Twelve-year-old's survival after Mahoning River plunge called a 'miracle'

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WARREN, Ohio -

“Nothing short of a miracle” is how Warren's Fire Chief describes the survival of a 12-year-old girl who floated down the the Mahoning River on Monday.

The girl, who was taking part in the annual Trumbull County Children's Services annual fishing trip, intentionally jumped into the water at Packard Park at around 6 p.m., according to Children's Services Executive Director Tim Schaffner.

One person from Children Services jumped into the river, but was unable to reach the girl.

According to Warren Fire Chief Ken Nussle, the girl floated toward a damn that is known as a “drowning machine” to firefighters because of tremendous water pressure there, as well as the risk of becoming impaled on debris that gathers there.

Chief Nussle says three people have been trapped in the dam area over the past 20 years, and none survived.

But Nussle says that somehow the current carried the girl past the dam on Monday.

A bystander spotted the girl from the Summit Street Bridge and jumped into the water, but was forced to retreat because of the water's chilly temperature, according to the chief.

After about 20 minutes in the water, the girl floated to Perkins Park where the current wasn't as strong.

Although firefighters in wet suits were there waiting, Chief Nussle says the girl managed to get out of the river on her own.

She was wrapped in a blanket and taken to a hospital by private ambulance.

Schaffner says says the girl is "perfectly fine" after her adventure, adding that she had a great time, but no one else did.

“Mortal tragedy was avoided,” says Schaffner about the child's survival. “ I don't know how except by the grace of God.”

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