Drowning Warr Acres girl saved after being spotted by helicopter

Thursday, December 30th 2004, 10:21 am
By: News On 6

WARR ACRES, Okla. (AP) _ A police officer in a helicopter spotted a 2-year-old girl drowning in a swimming pool and alerted other officers so she could be rescued.

Kyla Allen, 33, called police Wednesday afternoon to report her 3-year-old daughter and 2-year-old foster child had disappeared from her back yard, said Warr Acres Deputy Police Chief Pete Markstone.

The girls were playing in the back yard when Allen turned her back for a moment. When she turned around, the girls and the family's black Labrador retriever were gone.

Warr Acres police cleared the station to search the neighborhood for the girls, and called Oklahoma City police for a helicopter. An officer in the helicopter spotted the girls in a back yard of a house in the family's neighborhood and one of the girls was in a pool.

The 2-year-old was foundering, trying hard to stay afloat. The already-wet 3-year-old stood nearby while the dog barked frantically.

The girl, whose skin appeared bluish, was crying when Sgt. Larry Boggess pulled her from the pool.

Integris Baptist Medical Center officials declined to release the girl's condition Wednesday evening, but Markstone said she looked like she would be fine.

``We owe a great debt of thanks to Oklahoma City's Air One for helping us find them. If it had been just another couple of minutes, we probably would have had a tragedy on our hands,'' Markstone said.

Air One pilot Sgt. Tod Yates and observer Sgt. Lance Marston were circling the house when Marston spotted the trio.

He told Warr Acres police the location of the home and saw that the girl was struggling to stay above water. Marston said he felt helpless as ground officers ran toward the home.

``I really wanted to get on ground as quickly as I could to get this little girl out of the pool,'' said Marston, a four-year police observer. ``We were just lucky to be there and spot them as quickly as we could.''

Yates, a police pilot for six years, was able to make a tight circle above the ground, which Marston said helped him spot the girls and their dog. The two were in the same police academy 10 years ago.

``It's just a great, great, great day,'' Yates said. ``You wish the situation didn't occur but I love the outcome of the day. It worked out perfect.''