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9-year-old dies after dramatic rescue from Mill Creek

Posted at 3:45 PM, Jul 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 09:54:07-04

CINCINNATI — Despite a "valiant effort" from firefighters and emergency responders, a 9-year-old boy rescued from the bottom of Mill Creek Tuesday afternoon died at Children's Hospital later that night, Cincinnati Lt. Steve Saunders confirmed.

A Wednesday morning report from the Hamilton County Coroner identified the boy as Kingdesmond Jennings.

Assistant Fire Chief Anson Turley found the scene that afternoon by chance, he said shortly after the rescue. A group of frantic children flagged him down as he crossed Mill Creek Bridge, he said, one screaming: “Help me! Help me! He’s going under! He went under!”

The group had been swimming in the creek when the 9-year-old disappeared beneath 8 feet of water, according to Turley. More than 50 firefighters, sanitation workers and other emergency responders would answer his call for help.

Ten minutes later, one firefighter shouted for the others — “I got it!”

He’d felt the small body on the bottom of the creekbed with his feet.

“We did resuscitation,” he said. “Put him on a monitor. Got him into a medic unit. Got him to Children’s Hospital as quickly as possible.”

That was around 4 p.m. Police announced six hours later the boy had died.

In the hours between the rescue and the announcement, Turley urged Cincinnatians to avoid Mill Creek and seek out safer places to spend their time over the summer.

"This is no place for young people to be swimming. No place for anyone to be swimming alone," he said. “If you want to go swimming, (there’s) the Cincinnati Recreation Centers, the pools, the places that are supervised, that have lifeguards.”

The CRC's Millvale Community Center, which has a pool, is about four-tenths of a mile from the bridge. Children up to 17 years old can get in for $3 daily.