Pregnant heroic mom saves 3 drowning children from lake

TODAY.COM By Chrissy Callahan

Sometimes, moms just summon the strength to do incredible things. And that’s exactly what happened this week when Alyssa Dewitt, a mother from Manistee, Mich., pulled three drowning children from a local lake.

The Michigan resident, who is currently five months pregnant, was enjoying a fun beach day with her kids when she suddenly saw arms waving in the water below her at the First Street Beach Pier.

Three children under the age of 15 were struggling to get out of the water after rip currents had pulled them deeper into Lake Michigan. Dewitt sprang into action to help them after making sure her own children would be safe.

“I ran to the edge of the pier and they couldn’t even keep their heads above water at that point. I called 911 immediately,” she told NBC affiliate WPBN.

With the wind whipping and the waves crashing, the children had a hard time hearing Dewitt and she could barely make out what they were saying, but she did know that she had to act fast.

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“The best I could do was just kind of scream into the phone that I needed help, there were kids drowning,” she said.

As she was talking with 911, Dewitt put her phone down and laid down over the side of the pier to try to assist the children.

“Every time I would grab their hand and get them partway up, a wave would come and smash into us and pull them back down,” she said.

One moment from the frightening experience sticks out in Dewitt’s mind that she won’t forget.

“This part will stick with me forever. This girl looked at me and she said ‘I’m gonna die.’ It makes me cry every time I think about it,” she said. “I told her, ‘I promise you I am not gonna let you die out here; I am gonna get you out of this water.'”

Dewitt summoned the strength to pull each one of the children up and over the pier wall and she still can’t quite believe that she did it.

“I truly believe that I was meant to come here yesterday; I don’t think it was a coincidence,” she said.

Manistee City Police Chief Josh Glass described Dewitt as a “hero” and told TODAY that the city is lucky to have someone like her as a resident.

“When you have someone who puts their safety aside to help strangers, it’s amazing,” he said over the phone. “She could’ve easily said ‘It’s too dangerous to go out there’ but she stayed and her tenacity absolutely saved those kids.”

If Dewitt hadn’t intervened, Glass believes the situation wouldn’t have had such a positive outcome since the winds and waves were so strong that day. He also confirmed that all three children are “doing well given the circumstances” and that they only sustained minor injuries. Dewitt and her unborn child are also doing well.

“When we have an everyday, ordinary citizen – a mom at the beach with her own kids – that just puts the (superhero) cape on and gets to work and does something so heroic and so above expectations, I think it’s important that we recognize her,” Glass said.