A harrowing water rescue at Donkey Creek over the weekend was a very close call for three and a second chance for one Grays Harbor man.

Hoquiam resident Kelsey Reed was watching her 11-year-old cousin playing with dogs by the river Sunday when the girl stopped believing warnings not to go into the current and as Kelsey put it she, “turned and looked at me and sat down in the river and the current took her.”

Kelsey said she stripped down and jumped in but the water was so cold she instantly tensed up and had to get back out. When a stick was too short for the girl to grab, she jumped back in, but when she got to her; the struggling girl pushed her under the water and she wasn’t able to swim so she started screaming for help. Kelsey’s husband Colby Reed jumped in to help but was instantly affected by his Carhartt pants and heavy work boots, and when the girl did the same thing, he too started screaming for help. He later said swimming was “like kicking around cement blocks.” Other family members were screaming for help onshore when a group of campers came running.

Two young men, Dylan Landenglos and Antaney Whipkey, jumped into the water. Antaney was able to get the girl back to someone but struggled when he tried to go back for the married couple and ended up receiving aid on shore himself. The Reeds were able to get to ground across the river, Kelsey said it all happened in less than 5 minutes, adding, “we are so freaking lucky to be alive.”

Their rescuers, Dylan and Antaney, are “Westport transplants, to Aberdeen,” as Dylan’s mom proudly explains. Dylan is the youngest of 5 brothers and Antaney his childhood friend. Both were shaken by similar events in the summer of 2012 when another friend, 14-year-old Chester Lee Jellesed, and a 12-year-old Antaney were caught in an undertow on Cohassett Beach. Antaney made it back to shore, sadly after an extensive search Jellesed did not and his body washed ashore two weeks later.

But this weekend, everyone came home.

After being able to verify it with Antaney, I can release that he was the 12-year-old in the 2012 story. He wasn’t originally identified because I couldn’t reach him for permission

“I don’t know what would’ve happened if they hadn’t have been there.”

Kelsey Reed

First responders always warn of the dangers of cold and fast-moving rivers and of hidden undertows along the coast. And even with keen eyes and staring at the girl when it happened, it only took one “you don’t tell me what to do” to flip a weekend upside down.

Kelsey said after talking with the campers later that day that she was even more thankful, “that even though they’ve already been traumatized from someone drowning they risked their lives to save hers and well even ours.” She added, “I don’t know what would’ve happened if they hadn’t have been there.”

Antaney said after this article was released that he didn’t even think about it at the time, “until I was already there grabbing the girl.” He added that it was a very emotional experience, “I just knew I couldn’t do nothing seeing someone in danger of losing their life knowing how fast things can turn to tragedy.”