Man dives into river, saves girl, 7

July 23, 1996

A Severna Park man dove into the Severn River at a community beach Saturday to rescue a 7-year-old German tourist who had stepped into a deep hole and was lying on the bottom, county police said yesterday.

The tourist, Sylvia Albert, 7, was pulled unconscious from the river and taken to Johns Hopkins Childrens Center, where she was treated and released Sunday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Sylvia, who cannot swim, had been wading in the water at the Carrollton Manor beach with her parents and three siblings shortly before 3 p.m. when she stepped off a ridge and plunged into deep water, police said.

Thomas A. Ottenwaelder, 24, of the 600 block of Hollywood Road, was on the beach nearby when he heard people in the water shouting and ran to help. When he arrived, he learned that a child had disappeared in the water and dove into the river to search for her.

Ottenwaelder dove into the river, swam past where the girls family was searching, then dove into deeper water and felt the girl's leg, police said.

He pulled her out of the water, placed her on her side on the beach where she vomited and began breathing on her own. Paramedics arrived soon after and flew the girl to Johns Hopkins Hospital, police said.

Pub Date: 7/23/96

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