A pregnant mother of two is being hailed a hero after saving four kids from drowning during a family outing. As fate had it, Alyssa DeWitt, 27, decided to take her kids to First Street Beach Pier at Lake Michigan despite thinking the winds may be too strong. She soon noticed a group of girls under 15 on the beach who were going into the water.
Alyssa and her two children were the only other people on the beach at the time when the young girls ran into trouble. “I happened to look up and saw one of the girls waving her arms towards me and immediately knew something was wrong,” she said. Rip currents had pulled the girls out deeper and deeper into Lake Michigan, and they couldn’t get out.
“I got up, pulled my kids out of the water and ran out onto the pier. They couldn’t even keep their heads above water at that point. I called 911 immediately but I didn’t know if they could hear me and I didn’t have time to wait and find out,” she said. Alyssa knew she had to act quickly. “I put my phone down with 911 on and laid down over the side of the pier and told them to reach for my hand” she said.
Despite being five months pregnant she began trying to pull the girls over the rocky and slippery pier. “Every time I’d get one of them halfway up, a big wave would come smashing into us and knock them back down or almost pull me over,” she said. Alyssa recalled a moment she said will stick with her forever and still makes her cry when she thinks about it. “My turning point was when one of the little girls looked at me and said, ‘I’m going to die.’ That was it for me and I was like ‘I’m not going to let you die, I’m going to get you out of this water, I promise.’”
She managed to pull all three girls out of the water and over the pier before the group set off back towards the shore to rescue a fourth girl who had managed to get closer to shore but couldn’t stand because her leg was injured. Alyssa said “I honestly do not know how I did it, it was pure adrenaline at that point. Right after I got everybody onto the beach, the ambulance and the police cars came flying into the parking lot.”
Alyssa sustained a swollen wrist but she and the baby were both fine when she went to the hospital to get checked out. The modest hero praised her six-year-old daughter for managing to keep her two-year-old brother safe during the ordeal. “Between me screaming into the phone that I needed help and me screaming to the kids what I needed them to do to get them out, I was also turning around and screaming to my son not to come because it wasn’t safe. He was very scared and repeatedly tried to run to me on the pier” she said “My daughter would pick him up and take him back to the sand and she was so calm and I’m extremely proud of her, she did a great job.”
Manistee City Police Chief Josh Glass said “Thankfully, all parties involved sustained minor injuries, but without the actions of this heroic young lady could have easily turned out differently. Especially being a father of young children, it’s extremely impressive the way this young lady called to action without hesitation and I think it’s pretty obvious what would have happened if she wasn’t there.”