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Jul-17-2009 21:39printcomments

Longview Man Drowns Saving 3-year Old's Life

"He made the ultimate sacrifice, giving his life for that little girl" - Cowlitz County Sheriff's Captain Mark Nelson

Drowning investigation

(KELSO, Wash.) - Police in Washington say 20-year old Alan Heck of Longview is missing and presumed drowned after saving a three year old from drowning in the Cowlitz River near Kelso.

Several agencies responded around 3:00 p.m. to the east side of the Cowlitz River, near the old Kelso Water Treatment Plant.

Witnesses called 911, reporting that Alan Heck had dived into the water and rescued a three-year old girl who was in distress.

Kelso Police, Cowlitz Fire and Rescue, Cowlitz Dive Rescue and the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene to learn that Mr. Heck did not know the little girl and was not associated with the people she was with.

"Mr. Heck did something no less than heroic." Said Cowlitz County Sheriff's Captain Mark Nelson. "He made the ultimate sacrifice, giving his life for that little girl." Nelson said.

Nelson says the investigation shows that a group of people were swimming and enjoying the afternoon weather when the three year old wandered out into the water.

"She got out where the water gets deep and drops off into the channel; about 8-12 feet deep."

"Heck saw the little girl in trouble and ran for the water. He was able to grab her and hold her up above the water until someone could grab her. Then he went under, came back up and went under again. He did not resurface."

Divers have been searching the water for several hours but have suspended the search, Nelson said.

"Now and again, someone does something amazing in life and in doing so, gives up their own." "That's a hero." Nelson said.

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Anonymous October 15, 2009 1:50 pm (Pacific time)

Alan and I were friends in school. He wasn't always nice to everyone, but he was always looking out for someone. That is a very lucky little girl. Alan, you will be missed.

Corey Cowan July 20, 2009 7:40 am (Pacific time)

An amazing act of heroism and selfless courage. My heart goes out to Alan's family and friends. Feel blessed that you knew him.

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