Something told Jansy Peternell to go check on her children. The Renton, Washington mother left her home to see what the kids were up to. When she walked out, she saw two neighborhood children drowning in a retention pond across the street.
Peternell told KING 5 in Seattle, “It was surreal. What was strange is that children don’t always make noise when they’re drowning. There were no cries for help. it was just dead silent. Like slow motion.”
She immediately sprung into action and saved a 5-year-old girl and her 9-year-old brother. The girl was unconscious when Peternell pulled her from the water. The girl, who cannot swim, reportedly jumped in the water to retrieve a ball. Her brother jumped in to save her but ended up struggling as well.
The 5-foot-deep retention pond is not fenced in and is right next to a playground. Recognizing this recipe for disaster, residents have asked for a fence to be put in place. Peternell states that King County originally denied the request years ago because the grade of the pond was not steep enough.
Since then, Renton has been given jurisdiction over the pond. Peternell called the city to ask that a fence be put up. She told KING 5 that the city does not have the budget for the fence and fences are only being put up around ponds in new developments. Peternell vows to fight this.
The two neighborhood children that were drowning in the pond last week were very lucky that Peternell followed her intuition.