Crews on Saturday recovered the body of a Detroit firefighter who vanished into the Detroit River while helping save some girls from drowning a day earlier, authorities said.
Detroit Fire Sgt. Sivad Johnson’s body was pulled from the river Saturday afternoon following a six-hour search, said Dave Fornell, deputy commissioner of the Detroit Fire Department. The body was found not far from Belle Isle, he said.
Johnson was off-duty and walking with his 10-year-old daughter Friday night near the Detroit Yacht Club when they heard three young girls screaming for help from the water, Fornell said.
Johnson, a 26-year veteran of the Detroit Fire Department, jumped in to help, while a civilian and a nearby boat also assisted, he said.
“From the civilian, we talked to last night, there were a lot of rip currents and the sergeant went out into the water,” Fornell said. “One girl was rescued by the civilian and the boat picked up the two other girls.”
After the nearly 45-minute-long rescue, Johnson’s daughter realized he was missing and called 911, authorities said. The search for Johnson was eventually called off due to darkness, but resumed Saturday morning.
“It is believed the father may have been dragged underwater by the rip-current and no one noticed,” Michigan State Police said of Johnson in a statement.
Despite being off-duty at the time, Johnson’s heroic sacrifice will be labeled as a line-of-duty death, Fornell said.