HAMILTON, Ohio — Jennifer Nye said she heard the screams Monday. She was near the Great Miami River, standing on a hill where she and others were dedicating a tree to a neighbor.
“I'm taking pictures of the tree with the roses,” Nye said.
A girl was drowning in the river. A man tried to go in the water but turned back to shore because of the strong current. Another girl on the riverbank looked up the hill at Nye and her party.
“She said, 'Why are you guys just standing there watching?' “ the 56-year-old Nye remembered Wednesday. “And she was right. We were.”
Nye said something in her snapped.
“I realized, 'Why somebody else? And why not me?' “
And Nye took off down the hill, not knowing if she was going to be too late.
“At that point I honestly didn't know if she was breathing,” Nye said.
After Nye pulled the girl’s head out of the water, another woman she knows only as Holly helped her get the girl to shore, where first responders were waiting.
She never could have done it alone, Nye said.
“Absolutely not. Absolutely not. If Holly wouldn't have been there, I don't know,” she said.
Nye said it was serendipitous, if not divine intervention.
“If it wasn't all planned the way it was, we wouldn't have been there,” she said.
Nye actually hates the attention she’s been getting from her act of heroism. She calls what she did sorta stupid.
Last June, an inexperienced kayaker drowned in this same stretch.
“And I'm thinking, I'm really glad I didn't remember that on my way into the water,” Nye said.
But she hopes everyone understands that standing around should never be an option.
“Just the sound of that girl's voice was enough,” Nye said. “I could not just stand there.”
Nye still doesn’t know who that girl she saved is. She just hopes she realizes how lucky she is and that she is home with her family.