Angelo Mondragon of Fort Collins, Colorado, was swimming with his family in Windsor Lake on Sunday when he felt something brush against him. He looked down and discovered an unconscious 4-year-old girl floating just below the surface.
“I saw just the bottom of her feet and then right then at that moment, that became my child, I reached in and I pulled her out like I would any of my babies,” Mondragon, a father of three, told CBS Denver.
The 32-year-old plumber rushed the young girl, named Sitlali Fernandez, to the shore and called for help.
“I grabbed her and carried her limp body to the shore,” he told The Colorodoan. “The girl was already blue. She wasn’t breathing.”
Two off-duty nurses performed CPR and were able to resuscitate Sitlali, who was then transported to a children’s hospital. On Monday, Mondragon visited the young girl in the hospital. She was awake and talking and expected to make a full recovery.
Sitlali’s mother, Emma Hernandez, thanked the good Samaritan during an emotional meeting that was captured by 9News.
“There’s no words how much I can thank you,” Emma said through tears. “You saved her. You saved her. You saved my baby.”
“I came here because, like I told you, when I saw that little girl’s toes, [she] became my baby,” Mondragon said. “She was my family and I did everything that I could, that I would do for my family.”
“I just want her to know that we’re here for her and we’re going to see her all the way through her healing process and we’re going to watch her grow up,” he added.