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'I did what needed to be done:' Couple saves child from drowning in Portsmouth

"I did what needed to be done:' Portsmouth couple saves child from drowning
"I did what needed to be done:' Portsmouth couple saves child from drowning
bystander helps save girl
bystander helps save girl
Posted at 1:24 PM, May 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-23 19:36:20-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — It was an ordinary Sunday afternoon at Portsmouth City Park when a couple and their three children witnessed an emergency.

What separates heroes from ordinary humans?

One definition: the split-second decision to ignore their own personal safety to rescue a stranger.

Frances Taylor McNeil and her husband Larry played a role in stopping a near tragedy that unfolded before their eyes.

Bystanders jump into action, save child from drowning at Portsmouth City Park

Frances has the scars to prove it, her feet are riddled with cuts and bruises after she ran across broken clam shells and rocks at the water's edge after seeing a young child struggling in the water at the park.

"I don't think of myself as a hero, I did what needed to be done," Frances said.

Larry followed her into the water after calling 911. He was joined by two other bystanders.

Frances says she was the first to get to the little girl, pulling her now lifeless body to the surface.

"She wasn't breathing, she was just limp. I still have flashbacks of that to this day," said Frances.

One of the bystanders performed CPR and the first responders were there within minutes according to the couple.

The child was revived and taken to the hospital.

For their heroic actions that saved a young girl's life, Frances and Larry are this week's News 3 Everday Heroes!