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AEP River Operations employee rescues toddler from river

by on April 18, 2013
AEP River Operations employee Daniel Rosskopf was trout fishing in the Meramec River (above), in Maramec Spring Park in St. James, Mo., when a toddler fell into the river.Photo by: Maramec Spring Park

(Story by Jennifer L. Mason)

CHESTERFIELD, Mo.Maramec Spring Park, one of the most beautiful spots in Missouri, is a place Daniel Rosskopf of AEP River Operations loves to visit for its great trout fishing as well as the great scenery. The Meramec River, a clear, calm Ozark stream, flows through the park in St. James, Mo., providing excellent fishing.

Rosskopf, logistics coordinator for the Upper Ohio River, was at the park, standing in the middle of the Meramec River enjoying a day of fly-fishing on April 6. On that sunny, windy Saturday, he noticed a very young girl, probably about 15 months old, approach the riverbank and begin to play at the edge of the water.

Suddenly, the toddler fell forward into the river and was unable to stand up in the water.

“From when I saw her first, to when she fell in was less than 30 seconds,” Rosskopf said. “I glanced around to see where her parents were, and looked back to see her fall in.”

                   Daniel Rosskopf

Rosskopf quickly ran through the river to where the girl had fallen face-first, and picked her up out of the water. The commotion that he caused splashing through the river apparently brought the girl’s parents down from a picnic area on a nearby hill, from which the toddler had wandered away.

There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that the little girl was unable to save herself and would have drowned had Rosskopf not been there and acted quickly. Her parents were very thankful.

“I was just in the right spot at the right time,” Rosskopf said. He said the lesson from the event is simple — watch children carefully when potential hazards are nearby, including calm, shallow water. “Young children are so mobile and things can happen quickly,” he said.

Rosskopf later was asked if he caught any fish that day. “Yes, trout and a toddler,” he quipped.

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