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Saturday, June 30, 2012

ERTUG ERGUN: LASD Searchers Rescue Drowning Toddler While Searching for Turkish engineer in Angeles Forest

On June 29, 2012, multiple search teams with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, including search dogs and Sheriff's searchers on horseback were in the Stonyvale Picnic area for the ongoing search for Ertug Ergun. Ergun is an engineer from the country of Turkey who had been reported missing in Bakersfield, California last week. LASD deputies have been searching the picnic area and Angeles National Forest since finding his car in the area last week. 

Aydin Topcu, Consul General of Turkey, had just met with rescuers Friday at 5:00PM at the Stonyvale Picnic Parking area of Big Tujunga Canyon to thank them for their ongoing search efforts. The search and rescue team members then set out again for the next stage of the search. 

Within five minutes of leaving the picnic area command post, LASD Montrose Search and Rescue Reserve Commander Janet Henderson (an emergency room nurse) and Reserve Chief Michael Leum were walking in a river, searching for the missing man, when they noticed a family playing in the water about 50 yards upriver. 

Henderson was stunned to see that a toddler was laying face-down in the water near the family, and quickly yelled, "somebody better get that baby!" 

Reserve Deputies Henderson and Leum started running upstream as they saw the mother grab the lifeless 18-month old girl from the water. 

As soon as the rescuers reached them, the mother handed Leum the baby girl. She was limp, her skin had turned blue, and she was not breathing. 

Leum held the baby face-down on his forearm, just as he had been trained to do in Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) classes. He cautiously delivered back-blows appropriate for a toddler, and she immediately coughed up a large amount of water. She began breathing, although with some difficulty. 

Henderson, being an emergency room nurse, took over and evaluated the baby's condition based on her valuable training and experience. The mother, now relieved that her baby was breathing, thought that the child would now be fine. However, Henderson insisted that the baby be airlifted immediately airlifted due to the high likelihood of fluid remaining in the baby's lungs and other medical concerns, because of the intake of so much water. 

Leum radioed the Sheriff's command post and notified them of the rescue and need for an immediate airlift. 

Henderson and Leum hiked to the command post with the mom and baby, then drove with red lights and siren to a landing zone on Big Tujunga Canyon Road. Henderson administered oxygen and monitored the baby's vital signs constantly. 

Los Angeles County Fire Department Copter 18 landed and firefighters and sheriff's deputies transported the child and mother to an area hospital for emergency medical treatment. By early Saturday morning, the baby had been released from the hospital and is reportedly healthy. 

Due to the quick actions of the Montrose Search and Rescue Team members the child survived. 

Having rescued the child, Montrose Search and Rescue Team Commander Henderson and Chief Leum then rejoined the other rescuers and redeployed on their mission in search of the missing Turkish man from Bakersfield. That search continues. 

In discussion with the mother in the aftermath of this near-tragedy, deputies learned that the mother of the toddler, along with a three year old child, were being watched by another adult family member while they were all sitting by the side of the creek. 

The three year old child became distracted and ran away from the adult family member who was watching both children. That family member ran after the three year old and left the toddler sitting creekside for just a moment. That is when the toddler wandered into the creek. 

When the family member soon returned with the three year old, the mother was with the members of the Montrose Search and Rescue Team who had the lifeless toddler with them and were performing life saving measures which revived the toddler. 

This search and rescue operation is being coordinated by the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Departtment. Assisting in Friday's search included members of the Montrose Search & Rescue Team (Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station), Sierra Madre Search & Rescue Team (Temple Sheriff's Station), Mounted Search & Rescue (horses) and K-9 (dogs) Search and Rescuers (Sheriff's Reserve Forces Bureau Headquarters), and U.S. Department of Forestry personnel
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