- Associated Press - Thursday, July 3, 2014

PONCA, Ark. (AP) - Newton County officials say a Missouri girl was able to celebrate her 11th birthday after a London, Arkansas, man saved her life on the Buffalo National River.

Deputy Glenn Wheeler told the Harrison Daily Times (https://bit.ly/1mOHr9H) that Michael Hogrefe and his girlfriend were at the river Tuesday afternoon when they found Jose Renteria, 37, and his daughter, Daniella, of Independence, Missouri, struggling against the water near a low-water bridge near Ponca.

Wheeler said neither of the Renterias were strong swimmers when the current swept them under the bridge and the father tried to keep the girl from being swept away.

Hogrefe jumped into the water to help while his girlfriend drove off in an attempt to find cell service so she could call for help. The girl’s mother held out a branch to Jose Renteria to help keep him from going under water.

By the time Daniella was pulled from the water, she had turned blue, had no pulse and wasn’t breathing, according to the Harrison Daily Times. Hogrefe began CPR w and, before long, he felt the girl’s heart start beating again. Wheeler said the girl coughed up water and blood, then asked for her mother.

The North Arkansas Regional Medical Center said both Renterias were treated and released.

Wheeler said the Renterias were fortunate Hogrefe and his girlfriend were nearby. Daniella turned 11 on Wednesday.

“I believe that if they were not there the girl would not have survived to celebrate her birthday Wednesday,” Wheeler said.


Information from: Harrison Daily Times, https://www.harrisondaily.com

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