Niagara County deputy rescues drowning girl in Lake Ontario; father charged

Niagara County deputy rescues drowning girl in Lake Ontario; father charged

Sheriff: Child rescued from Lake Ontario Thursday morning, father charged

A Niagara County sheriffs deputy rescued a drowning 4-year-old girl in Lake Ontario Thursday morning at Olcott Beach and authorities later charged the girls father.

Deputy John Vosburgh responded to a call just after 8 a.m. that an unsupervised girl was in the water in the area of Krull Park, and that she appeared to be drowning, according to the Niagara County Sheriffs Office.

When Deputy J. Vosburgh responded, the child was seen 50-60 yards off of the shore and looked to be taken farther out by the current.  The child went under the water three times right before the deputy reached her and brought her back to shore.

Child rescued from Lake Ontario, father charged

When Vosburgh arrived at the scene, the girl appeared to be 50 to 60 yards from the shore and drifting farther away from the shoreline, the Sheriffs Office said. As Vosburgh entered the lake, he saw her head going under the water three times. Vosburgh swam to the child, who was in water over the deputys head, and brought her back to shore.

The child was conscious and breathing, and began to cough and vomit up large amounts of water, the Sheriffs Office said. The child was transported to Oishei Childrens Hospital for evaluation.

At about 8:50 a.m., deputies located a nearby residence on Main Street that had the front door ajar. Inside was the childs father, who was sleeping.

A call came in to the Niagara County Communications Center reporting a young girl appeared to be drowning in Lake Ontario off of Olcott Beach near Krull Park.

Joshua A. Wankasky, 34, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, the Sheriffs Office said. He was released on an appearance ticket and is scheduled to appear in the Town of Newfane Court at 2 p.m. Nov. 6.

The child was conscious and breathing when she made it to shore, but was taken to Children's Hospital for further evaluation.

Speaking in a halting emotional voice, Wankasky told The Buffalo News his family is grateful to Vosburgh for his quick actions.

We cant even explain how much we appreciate him being there, Wankasky said. If he wasnt, I dont know if shed be alive.

Everything checked out fine and shes being kept overnight to keep an eye on her lungs, Wankasky said.

Story topics: Krull Park/ Niagara County Sheriffs Office/ Olcott/ Olcott Beach/ rescue/ water rescue

OLCOTT, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Niagara County Sheriff's Office says a child was rescued from Lake Ontario on Thursday morning.

Around 8 a.m., officials received a report of an unsupervised girl walking along the lake on Olcott Beach, in the area of Krull Park.

The person who called first responders also said the girl was in the water and appeared to be drowning.

A deputy who went to the scene saw the child in the lake about 50 or 60 yards from the shoreline. He said it appeared the waves were pushing her out further into the water.

The deputy says he saw the child's head go underwater three times, and he went out into the water to rescue her.

After safely securing the girl, he brought her back to the shore, where he says he could not find her parents.

The girl was conscious and breathing, officials say, and starting coughing up "large amounts of water."

Wankasky was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, and Child Protective Services was notified of the incident.

Posted in Ontario