Man Drowns After Rescuing 5-Year-Old Girl - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/12/02

Man Drowns After Rescuing 5-Year-Old Girl

40-year-old Fermin Arreola of Snyder tried to save a family friend who was struggling in the water, then drowned. What started as a family day at the lake turned tragic for a Snyder man. Fermin Arreola was at the lake with his brother, his brother's girlfriend, and three small children on Sunday afternoon, when one of the kids was struggling in the water.

"A 5-year-old little girl had gotten into the water and was having difficulties getting out of the water. The victim then saw the difficulties she was having and went in to get the little girl. Mr. Arreola retrieved the 5-year-old girl, put her on the shoreline where the other two adults were taking care of her. Upon turning around, they could not see Mr. Arreola. They couldn't find him," said Daniel Yarbro, Garza County Constable.

The drowning happened in a secluded cove off of campsite 50. Two of the three adults couldn't swim, so when Mr. Arreola rescued the girl then became trapped himself, all the others could do was wave down a passing boat for help. They believe he was under water for 15 to 20 minutes.

"No foul play is suspected in any way. It was just a horrible accident. The only thing we can come to the conclusion to is either exhaustion, or he had maybe gotten tangled with some branches or something like that," said Yarbro.

Garza County Constable Daniel Yarbro says that it was a slow day at the lake and there was enough security for the amount of traffic. This drowning was just an unfortunate accident.

"Volunteers went in, retrieved the victim, put the victim on their boat, and began CPR. They brought the victim around to the public boat dock, continued to do CPR, and at the time, the Post ambulance was there and they continued CPR transporting the victim to Lubbock Covenant where I belive a short time later he was pronounced deceased," said Yarbro.

While they are still questioning witnesses, Yarbro says the investigation is for the most part over. Lake Alan Henry is owned by the City of Lubbock, and Garza County is contracted for law enforcement at the lake.

NewsChannel 11 found out about this drowning shortly after it happened on Sunday. Apparently, there was a communication gap between the constable's office and the City of Lubbock, so no one would release information on the accident until Monday. Constable Yarbro says that Garza County officials could not release the information until they were able to investigate and gather all the information on Monday.

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