Lake Geneva lifeguard saves two lives over 4th of July
LAKE GENEVA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A Lake Geneva lifeguard saved not one, but two lives over the Fourth of July.
The lifeguard was just a couple months into the job when she jumped in to save a little girl and her mom.
The holiday is the most crowded on Geneva Lake's Riviera Beach.
"The weather was perfect, the beach was just jam-packed with people. You almost couldn't squeeze another person on the beach that day. So, that makes the lifeguard's job all that much tougher because you just have to keep your eyes on so many people at the same time," said Ted Pankau, Water Safety Patrol Director.
For the difficult conditions, they put eight lifeguards on duty. Pankau says the beach gets lots of out-of-town visitors.
"We get quite a few people from Illinois, Chicago area, suburbs, Milwaukee area, Rockford, Madison."
Lifeguard Sofija Djurdjulov was on duty when she heard the cry for help.
"I just heard a screaming girl in the middle of the pier and the buoys going out toward the pier. She pointed at me and I jumped in," said Djurdjulov,
Water Safety Patrol lifeguard.
When she grabbed the 12-year-old, she saw something else.
"I looked underneath the water and I see just hair floating in the water and so I pull her up and it's the mom of the girl," said Djurdjulov.
As she swam both of them back to shore, a few scary moments awaited.
"The mom was under for a while she had asthma as well. She was coughing up water and felt really dizzy," said Djurdjulov.
But the holiday had a happy ending
"They ended up being okay. The daughter was fine -- just a little bit in shock. They ended up going back home that day and everything was fine," said Djurdjulov.
The water safety patrol is proud of their new lifeguard.
"I've never said this to you before," said Kaelean Brunow, Water Safety Patrol Assistant Director as she addressed Sofija, "but I had a feeling right off the bat that she was going to be a strong guard so it wasn't a shock to me, it just made me more proud of her. I think that proved my very first instinct of Sofija."
"She did her job, and she did it in heroic fashion," said Pankau.
Djurdjulov says, she's now proud of that title.
"It was hard for me to feel that way at first - 'oh it's not that big of a deal,' and now I really think about it and look back and maybe I did save two lives that day."
Water Safety Patrol patrols on beaches and on boats for Geneva Lake. There is about 15 water saves each year on the lake, but the patrol says a double drowning, like the one on the 4th, is rare.