Brooklyn Boro

OPINION: Oklahoma family a bright light in a horrific tragedy

August 6, 2018 By Jack Ryan, Editorial Page Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Monte Campbell, of Stillwater, Okla., right, stands under the Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan after jumping into New York’s East River to rescue a baby floating in the water, on Sunday. The baby was later pronounced dead and authorities are investigating. No parent or guardian was present at the scene and the child showed no signs of trauma, police said. AP Photo/Robert Bumsted

The thought of an infant wearing only a diaper and floating face up in the East River under the Brooklyn Bridge will stay in the minds of New Yorkers for a long time to come. But that horrific image will be drowned out by the actions of a heroic doctor and his family visiting from Oklahoma.

The Campbells, their two sons and a niece, had just returned from a ferry trip to the Statue of Liberty when Diana Campbell told her husband Monte, a doctor, that she saw a baby floating in the river. At first the Campbells thought it was a doll or some kind of drill.

When he realized it was no drill, he first called 9-1-1, then he handed his phone to his wife and jumped into the water and retrieved the baby. While his family flagged down a patrol car, Dr. Campbell desperately tried to revive the baby applying CPR until an ambulance arrived and rushed the child to New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Lower Manhattan, where he was pronounced dead.

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Two hours after first seeing the baby, the Campbells went on their way. Dr. Campbell called their experience “very emotional.”

As of the writing of this editorial, the police had not released any information about the baby or how it ended up in the river. That part of the story, we fear can only get uglier.

But the thought of a family who came halfway across America to visit Liberty Island and wound up trying, however unsuccessfully, to rescue this tragic baby will remain in many hearts for a long time to come.

 


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