DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA)– Three year old Ellie has a love for the outdoors. “She loves the water. She loves to swim,” said Denton Hird. However, this time she got in a little too far over her head. Last Saturday, the family went for a hike at Kennekuk. “It was kind of a pretty area we hadn’t really been to yet, and so we were taking some pictures and enjoying it,” said Denton Hird.
Ellie ended up in the water. “I could see her trying to swim to come back, but the current was too much,” said Denton Hird. “It’s the worst part of a movie that you could imagine just looking down at her feeling helpless,” said Mariah Hird.
Denton got in to save her. That’s when two kayakers came floating down the river and helped bring her to shore. However, Ellie scared and shaken took off running, so the Hird’s began to search for her. “We got to a safe area on top of the ridge. Ellie rejoined us, found us came crying over to us,” said Denton Hird.
The family alerted the kayakers Ellie was okay. “We yelled down that we found Ellie, and they cheered from the water. That’s the last we saw them,” said Denton Hird. They never found out the kayakers’ names or who they were. The Hird’s say their quick thinking helped save an important part of the family. “It could have taken her way down the river. We could have never seen her again. She could have drowned,” said Denton Hird. “It just was an answer to prayer because we don’t don’t know if our family would be a family of four anymore still,” said Mariah Hird, “They were our guardian angels that day.” The family says they are still trying to find the kayakers who helped them. They’re hoping to have a virtual meet up to thank them.