Courageous Detroit Firefighter Loses Life after Saving Three Drowning Girls
Sivad Johnson, a 26-year veteran of the Detroit Fire Department, was enjoying time on Belle Isle with his 10-year-old daughter, Hayden, on Friday evening, August 21, 2020, Belle Isla is a 982-acre island park situated in the Detroit River.
Johnson’s time with his daughter was interrupted when he heard other people nearby sound alarm about three girls in the water drowning. In response to the calls for assistance with the drowning girls, Johnson and another individual dove into the river to save girls’ lives.
Fortunately, the girls were rescued and returned safely to their homes and families. Unfortunately, the same could not be said about Sivad Johnson. After the girls were rescued from the river, Johnson’s daughter Hayden went to look for her father. Hayden was unable to find her Dad.
Emergency rescue personnel who had been dispatched to the scene as a result of the trio of drowning girls that Johnson was involved in rescuing turned their attention to finding the missing firefighter. During the search Hayden was taken into the care of her grandfather.
Searchers continued their efforts to find Johnson until 4:00 a.m. Saturday, to no avail. Johnson’s body was found in the water near the Detroit Yacht Club on Saturday afternoon. Investigators believe that a rip current got ahold of Johnson while he was working to save the three drowning girls. As of this time, it appears that Johnson was drug under water by the rip current and was unable to bring himself to the surface.
Johnson will long remembered as a respected, dedicated firefighter serving the people of Detroit. Indeed, Johnson is from a family is firefighters. In a radio broadcast in 2018, Johnson described his family’s commitment to service as firefighters:
“My brother was a firefighter for 11 years, and we are both second-generation because our father served for 20,” he said. “That is actually a very proud thing for me to say. I’ve met a lot of great men and women on the job, and through some of the things we’ve been through and shared, we’ve grown close like a family.”
Upon being retrieved from the water near the Yacht Club, Johnson’s remains were transported to Detroit Receiving Hospital for a formal declaration of death. 10 fire companies were present at the medical center to salute Sivad Johnson at the arrival.
Drowning ranks fifth among unintentional deaths in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On average, approximately 10 people die the result of unintentional drowning in the U.S.A.
In addition to fatal drowning accidents, thousands of people suffer nonfatal drowning injuries. About 50 percent of the people brought to hospital emergency rooms as the result of nonfatal drowning incidents require hospital admission. This contrasts with 6 percent of hospital admissions among other types of patients admitted to emergency departments for accident injuries.
Victims of nonfatal drowning incidents are fortunate to now have died. However, an alarming number of nonfatal drowning accident victims suffer long-term disability due to brain damage. Examples of these long-term disabilities include:
- Memory issues
- Learning disabilities
- Permanent loss of basic functioning (or permanent vegetative state)
Like the girls Sivad Johnson lost his loss rescuing, about 20 percent of drowning accident victims are children under the age of 14. In addition to every that dies from a drowning accident, approximately five others are taken to the hospital as the result of nonfatal drowning injuries.
If you’ve suffered injuries as the result of a drowning accident, or if you’ve lost a loved one by drowning, you may have questions about your rights if someone else’s negligence contributed or caused the accident. A Doan Law Firm drowning accident lawyer is available to discuss and evaluate your case. A nationwide law firm, we can schedule an initial appointment and case evaluation with you any time by calling (800) 349-0000.
In addition to meeting with you at any one of our 40 offices in the United States, a drowning accident lawyer from our firm can also schedule a virtual appointment. There is not charge for an initial consultation with a Doan Law Firm drowning accident lawyer.
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