Reporting Pamela Jones
CHICAGO (CBS) – A southwest suburban family is thankful for their rescuers and their smart phone. They became stranded on a sinking vessel on the lake off Portage on Labor Day when they called for help.
CBS 2′S Pamela Jones spoke with them.
“At first we couldn’t hear because one of the waves did come and drop the phone out of our hand. But we were able to get it back,” said Darlene Garduno.
The 12-year-old dialed 911 in a desperate attempt to save her family from drowning on Labor Day.
She, her 14-year-old sister, her dad and an 8-year-old cousin were riding a jet ski on a calm Lake Michigan at midday when suddenly the waves picked up- and their jet ski flipped.
“The big wave came in. It rolled over and we all fell. We just tried to grab each other,” said Briceyda Garduno.
“I think it was time to call 9-1-1,” said Savino Garduno.
Savino Garduno was driving about a mile from shore when the waves tossed them. The jet ski was taking on water.
Corporal Guy Wendorf with the Indiana Department of natural resources cut through the water to save the family.
“A lot of them had that glassy-eyed look and staring off into the distance. The one that had the phone was still on the phone when we arrived,” said Wendorf.
He says the family battled the chilly waves for about an hour until officers arrived to pull them out. Clear details from the 14-year-old, pinpointing the family’s location near the Mittal Steel plant in Portage.
“I wasn’t sure if they were hearing me and if at one point they were able to hear me that I was able to be talking and they didn’t think it was some prank,” Darlene Garduno.