SALT RIVER, Ariz. - It has been a dangerous year on the Salt River as the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has responded many times for swimmers in distress.
On Sunday, a teenager felt compelled to say thank you to the men who saved her life after she coded in the water.
On Memorial Day weekend,18-year-old Carley Bove’s life changed forever because she nearly lost it.
She had lost her footing while tubing down the Salt River.
"I decided to kind of get out of my tube and pull everyone to the side," Bove said.
It was too much. She went under the water and was unconscious.
The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office launched the airboat toward Sheep’s Crossing to save her, but the river was crowded.
"There were places we had to get through that were literally wall-to-wall shoreline-to-shoreline of tubes, and we had to fight through that to get Carley to safety," said deputy Jim Cesolini.
"I tried to speed up as much as I can, but like I said, I can’t forgo everyone’s safety on the river," deputy Manuel Madrigal explained.
They pulled her aboard, and she had no pulse.
Deputy Jim Cesolini told the pilot, deputy Manuel Madrigal, to try to navigate the crowds quickly.
"On the bow of the airboat I was performing CPR," Cesolini said. "We need to go, we need to go. I don’t want to lose her. And we did everything we could."
Eventually, her heart started again and she recovered at a hospital.
"Something in my heart said, these people saved your life," Bove said. "You need to thank them."
That's what she did Sunday morning, arriving with snacks and treats to show their gratitude. A mom has her daughter, and so does a dad on Father's Day.
"I’m so thankful and grateful for the entire team and effort that you all did to save my daughter, because she would not be here if it were not for your efforts," said Lynde Gervais, Carley's mother. "From the bottom of my heart, I cannot thank you enough."
"I know these guys do this daily," said father Steven Gervais. "It isn’t just a one time thing."
Carley has fresh perspective, and a message to all those enjoying time on water.
"I recommend a life vest," the teen said. "I don’t care how good of a swimmer you think you are. I don’t care how tall you are, how big you are. I always recommend a life vest."
More Arizona news
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- It's back! Salt River Tubing opens for summer 2021 season
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