Breck heroes save 5-year-old girl from drowning in Blue River |

Breck heroes save 5-year-old girl from drowning in Blue River

Robert Allen
Breckenridge, CO Colorado

BRECKENRIDGE, Colorado – Four counselors with the Breckenridge Recreation Department were commended this week for efforts in saving a 5-year-old girl from drowning in the Blue River.

“A little, tiny girl went head over handlebars into the river,” said counselor Jay DeBaggis.

On July 3, he was leading a group of kids aged 5 to 12 on the recreation path along the river when fellow Breckenridge Mountain Camp counselor Ryan Whiteneck saw the girl had fallen in the water and rode his bike to call to the counselors ahead.

DeBaggis was in just the right place to catch her before the river led to “a bunch of overgrown trees.”

“I was super fortunate,” he said. “I went after her and she got hung up on a little rock and I was able to snatch her and pull her out of the water.”

Linna Mora-Couldron, 5, had been riding her bicycle with training wheels when she lost control. The incident occurred near the recpath underpass by City Market.

Diane McBride, programs manager with the recreation department, said counselor Sydney Doolittle had first jumped in to save Linna but missed, and the girl drifted about 25 yards downstream.

DeBaggis said the river’s water “was still running pretty good” and “was knee to thigh high on me, so it was a little scary.”

Linna was not injured, though she had floated head-first, facing up.

“She was a little shaken up, coughing up a little water,” DeBaggis said. “She was happy as could be when she got out of there.”

McBride said Katy Schorling made sure Linna got into warm clothes and comforted her.

“We’re very proud of the job that the counselors (did) and thank them for the teamwork and for acting so quickly to help the little girl,” McBride said.

DeBaggis said the rescue wouldn’t have happened without his fellow counselors.

“I was just a link in the chain,” he said, adding that the incident could have been much worse.

The four received Every Day Leader awards at Tuesday’s quarterly town staff meeting.

Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or

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