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Teen dies after falling into Root River

RACINE — A 13-year-old girl died Friday afternoon after she was pulled unconscious from the Root River near Island Park, where she somehow apparently fell into the water.

A witness told The Journal Times — and police confirmed — that the girl was unconscious when emergency personnel pulled her from the river. Fire Department paramedics rushed the girl to the hospital.

Emergency personnel were notified of the incident at 3:54 p.m. The girl was removed from the water at about 4:10 p.m., radio reports indicated.

Flight for Life was requested to respond to Wheaton Franciscan-All Saints hospital, radio reports indicated. It was not clear Friday when and where the girl was pronounced dead.

Katerina Dustman of Racine said she called 911 when a younger relative of the girl ran to her and asked for help.

“We looked and we didn’t see anything,” Dustman said. “We saw a shoe, but it was just a shoe. We literally could not see anything else in that water.”

Witnesses said police were at the scene quickly and pulled the girl out of the water.

“Seven to 10 of them (officers) jumped in there and found her almost instantaneously,” Dustman said.

According to a release sent early Friday evening from the Racine Police Department, the girl was pulled out of the river near the south baseball diamond. The girl was unresponsive at the time.

“Racine rescue attempted to revive her but attempts were unsuccessful,” the release states.

Initial investigation showed that the teen was playing with her 9-year-old cousin near the river, police said. It is unclear whether she jumped in the river or fell in but once the 13-year-old entered the river she was submerged and her cousin left to find an adult to call for help.

“There is nothing suspicious expected but the investigation is ongoing,” police said.

Racine Police investigators are interested in any additional information that anyone may have about this incident. Any witnesses, or citizens with information, are urged to call the Racine Police Department Investigations Unit at 262-635-7756.

Public access to Island Park, 1700 Liberty St. (south of Spring Street and west of North Memorial Drive), was reportedly closed for nearly 45 minutes while police investigated the incident and Fire Department personnel finished at the scene.

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