MOHAVE COUNTY – Three Mohave County Sheriff’s office personnel have been recognized for saving the life of an 18 month-old girl during a boating accident on Lake Havasu last fall. Sheriff Doug Schuster presented the distinguished lifesaving awards during the February 21 Board of Supervisors meeting in Kingman.
Schuster said undersheriff Ed Trafecanty, Boating Safety officer Vince Beltran and deputy Kyler Cox risked their own lives to save the life of little Mia Jimenez.
Jimenez was among 11 people flung into the choppy water of Lake Havasu when their boat capsized September 24, some 50 feet from shore.
Schuster said Trafecanty used his navigation skill in windy and dangerous boating conditions to quickly reach the overturned vessel and the chaotic scene where people were frantically searching for the toddler. He said it was determined that Mia was most likely in the water under the boat.
Schuster said Cox ordered those on scene to help by raising the boat to allow him to explore the passenger cabin area underneath.
“Once the watercraft was lifted, understanding it could come down anytime, Cox entered the passenger area,” Schuster said. He said lighting was poor so Cox used his arms to sweep debris from the top of the water clear of the upraised boat.
Schuster said Beltran was able to locate Mia in the debris field and that she was rushed to Havasu Regional Medical Center motionless, showing no sign of life and in critical condition. The sheriff said the little girl was subsequently flown to Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas for further treatment.
“I am extremely happy to report that as of this day, 18 month-old Mia Jimenez has fully recovered,” Schuster said. “She will suffer no long term effects and is as healthy and vibrant as she was the day before the accident.”
Schuster said it was his extreme honor and privilege to honor the men for their act of bravery.