16-year-old Maine girl swims to shore to save dad and sister

WATERVILLE, Maine (AP) — A 16-year-old Maine girl swam great lengths to save her dad and sister when their boat took on water and capsized.

Kiana French swam to shore to find help after the 12-foot aluminum boat capsized on Parlin Pond on Sunday afternoon, the Morning Sentinel reported.

She said her father, Gary French, and sister, Cierrah French, were in a state of shock and could not swim to shore.

Cierrah French, a cancer survivor, still feels pain in her knee from choriocarcinoma, a rare form of cancer. She said the water was cold and that her fingers and toes went numb.

Kiana French said she strapped on her life jacket in the water, and then recovered the other two jackets floating near the boat and helped her sister put one on as her dad clung tightly to the boat. She knew if she waited with them the currents would get worse, so she headed to shore.

“I went kind of right to left so I didn’t have to fight the current. They say I swam a long ways, but I wasn’t really thinking about it,” Kiana French said. “I was sad to leave my sister and my dad behind but I felt like it was the right thing to do.”

Kiana French walked along the shoreline and called out for help until she saw a boat and was taken in by Maine Game Warden Kris MacCabe and his wife. Her father and sister were rescued by another boat.

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