Paramedics hailed as heroes after saving infant from submerged vehicle

HIGHLAND, IL (WCMH) — Two paramedics are being hailed as heroes after their quick thinking helped them save an infant from a submerged vehicle.

Todd Zobrist and Ty Barr responded to a 911 call early Thursday morning about an SUV that was submerged in Silver Lake.

“I just happened to be the quickest. I took my shirt and sweatshirt off, took off my boots and socks,” Zobrist told KMOV. “The area I jumped into was only about two or three feet deep and I made the determination that I could swim faster than I could run out there.”

After Zobrist checked the front of the vehicle, he saw something that he thought looked like a doll in the backseat.

“What I saw looked like two feet and two hands, and at first I thought it was just a doll or kid’s toy of some sort,” he said. “I reached back as far as I could and was able to grab a foot and found out pretty quickly, hey this is an infant baby.”

Zobrist moved quickly to get the baby to the top of the vehicle and started performing CPR. The child started spitting up water and Zobrist made the split second decision to dive back into the water and get to the ambulance as soon as possible. He swam all the way back to shore with one arm as he held the baby above the water with the other.

“For the best for the baby and for myself, we needed to go,” Zobrist said.

Barr was the other paramedic on the scene, and he worked from the ambulance, helping to make the necessary calls to keep both Zobrist and the baby safe.

“My number one concern was Todd,” Barr said. “I cared about my partner. Once he came out with the baby, my concern came to that baby.”

When Zobrist and the baby reached the ambulance, he and Barr began warming the baby.

Barr said it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“Unbelievable, miracle [are] the two words that come to mind,” he said. “It’s just something that’s in you, that drives you to help other people.

Zobrist says the two were just in the right place at the right time.

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