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City employees help save teen from drowning in Hillsborough River

A group of people jumped into action to reach the struggling teen.
Posted: 11:09 PM, Jul 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-21 10:43:15-04
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TAMPA, Fla. — The City of Tampa is giving kudos to three employees for helping rescue a teen from the Hillsborough River.

Three Tampa Parks and Recreation employees, Victoria Mattie, Ashley St. Clair and Sophie Seidenberg, are credited with jumping into action at the Tampa River Center when the incident unfolded on July 12.

"I get a knock on the door and she’s like hey I’m on the phone with 911 someone’s drowning," St. Clair said.

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She said they were working an event. When she looked out, she saw the teen struggling in the middle of the water.

"He was definitely struggling kind up and down trying to stay afloat he was out there by himself he was scared," she said.

St. Clair said the teen was shouting for help. That's when everyone jumped into action. They believe he may have jumped in after a shoe.

"It was like oh my gosh what should we do. I'm just glad that, thank goodness we work with a good team — it was definitely a total team effort," St. Clair said,

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St. Clair said a boater went in after them, as well as Mattie. Someone tried to throw a life preserver, but it didn't reach. So St. Clair and a caterer grabbed a kayak and Seidenberg paddled out.

"Victoria jumped in the water, I grabbed the kayaks, Sophie paddled out. So I just love that it was a team effort, but yeah it was definitely a panic just because, oh my gosh somebody’s actually drowning," she said.

In those tense moments, they got the teen back on land.

"I think he's okay, we sure hope so," St. Clair said.

St. Clair said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor called all three employees to thank them for their efforts afterwards,.