Officials Identify Victim Who Drowned Trying to Save 7-Year-Old Girl

MARION COUNTY, Iowa  --  Marion County officials have identified the drowning victim recovered from the Des Moines River on Friday afternoon.

Shortly after 2:55 p.m., the Pella Police Department was dispatched to the river, below Red Rock Dam, on a report of a possible drowning. Investigators say a seven-year-old female was playing on the water's edge with other members of her group and eventually went into deeper water. The girl was pulled out of the water by a nearby boater, who performed CPR as the girl was unconscious and not breathing. The boater also pulled several other people to safety.

The seven-year-old is now in stable condition at Blank Children's Hospital.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office says another man who entered the water in an attempt to save the girl--her uncle, 42-year-old Cha Lee of St. Paul, Minnesota--was not able to make it out of the river. Approximately two hours later, rescue crews located Lee's body about 20 yards away from where the incident took place.

“Although this event ended tragically, I applaud the heroic efforts of the nearby boater. He saved additional family members' lives today by being in the area and providing assistance," said Sheriff Jason Sandholdt of the boater who assisted in the rescue.

This individual chose to remain anonymous, but officials say he was "very humble" and "stressed the importance of being trained in CPR."