Parents save young kids at Turkey Run, urge more parent supervision

An Illinois couple saved two young, drowning children at Turkey Run State Park. After the incident they hope parents will watch their children more closely.

Posted: May 29, 2018 6:52 PM

PARKE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - You might use these hot days to have some fun in the water, but if you're not watching your children closely enough, the fun instantly disappears.

A scary situation unfolded on Memorial Day at Turkey Run State Park. That’s where Whitney and Kenny Bower spent their holiday on the water. But their day trip from Illinois quickly turned into more than they bargained for.

Whitney shares, "We ended up paddling down river, we got off for a little while and we played in the sand and we played on the banks. And then, we got back in, and that's when we ran into the children."

Their relaxing family canoe trip turned dangerous in minutes.

Kenny says, "She said, ‘Kenny look, help, help!' She heard somebody yelling. I didn't see the baby, I was on the back of the boat, I saw everybody that was over there, they all looked of age. They all had their heads above water."

But Whitney had spotted a baby with the group of kids, which was under water.

Whitney shares, "He instantly jumped in and the second he jumped in all 5 children like ran to him and like swarmed to him and pushing him under which scared me. And I’m like no, the baby's drowning, he has to get the baby."

The rescue unfolded right before Whitney’s eyes.

Whitney recalls, "He finally got her to me she was lifeless as he grabbed her and kept her above water. But when I was able to get her upright, she immediately started coughing and crying and I was so concerned with her I wasn't fully paying attention. He threw the four-year-old in the boat as well and was able to push us to the side.'"

Most safety officials say that you're actually supposed to try and throw a rope or reach out to somebody before jumping in. But the bowers say that it happened so fast, that they couldn't help but just go after the kids.

Kenny shares, "Afterwards I told Whitney, ‘I should've just thrown my life jacket out there’. I didn't think about it though because there was no time."

Whitney says, “After that happened, I told Kenny, I said, 'God had us here for a reason. He wanted us to be here. He wanted us so that we could save that child.' Because I fear that if we weren't there, I really do not believe that she would've made it out alive."

What’s most shocking about the incident is the kids were not under parent supervision. The situation rattled both Kenny and Whitney. They walk away thankful they could help, but with a message for all.

Kenny says, "Watch your kids. I have two, and I can't believe that the parents weren’t even anywhere near. Like I said, if I wasn't there, I feel like those babies could've, would've died."

Besides keeping an eye on your children, officials say one of the easiest things is to make sure your kids are wearing life jackets that are the right size. The Bower's say that none of the children in the incident were wearing life jackets. 

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