Local

‘A team effort to try to get to her’: 10-year-old girl and man who attempted to rescue her drown off R.I. coast

Two other people were hospitalized, officials said.

Warwick divers waded to shore on Monday. DAVID L. RYAN/GLOBE STAFF

The body of a 10-year-old girl was pulled from Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay on Monday afternoon, a day after she went missing in the strong currents off Conimicut Point.

The girl, identified as Yoskarly Martinez, of Providence, was found in shallow water on the north side of a sandbar that extends east toward the Conimicut Lighthouse, according to Capt. Robert Hart, of the Warwick police marine and dive unit.

Earlier reports identified Yoskarly as older, but Hart confirmed she was 10 and “almost 11.”

The U.S. Coast Guard, on Twitter, said around 1:41 p.m. Yoskarly was unresponsive when she was found and recovered.

“At a private dock the medical examiner took care of her and the family was brought to the scene,” Warwick Mayor Frank Picozzi wrote on Facebook. “We offered our assistance and condolences to them. They are understandably in shock.”

According to the Coast Guard, its rescue crews were first on the scene Sunday searching for Martinez and a 35-year-old man, whose body was located later that night.

Advertisement:

Picozzi, on Facebook Sunday, said the man apparently did not know the girl.

Hart identified the good samaritan as Valentin Cardona Sanchez, of Central Falls.

“He lost his life trying to save the child,” Picozzi wrote. “He was a hero.”

According to Hart, two other people were also pulled from the water Sunday and were hospitalized after attempting to rescue the girl.

One was in serious condition and required a breathing tube on Sunday, Hart said at a press conference. Their conditions were not known on Monday.

Hart said several people tried to help Yoskarly to safety.

“It was a team effort to try to get to her,” he said.

Warwick officials provide an update after a second body is pulled from the water off Conimicut Point

Warwick officials provide an update after a second body is pulled from the water off Conimicut Point. https://www.wpri.com/news/breaking-news/search-continues-for-girl-11-who-man-died-trying-to-save/

Posted by WPRI 12 on Monday, June 21, 2021

Yoskarly was celebrating Father’s Day with her family on Sunday, according to a GoFundMe online fundraiser created by a relative.

Advertisement:

“She was the smartest, funnest, and most loving 11 year old you could ever meet,” the page says. “Oldest of three, Yoskarly did not love anything more in this world but being a big sister to her siblings.”

The family member described her death as a “traumatic and unbearable loss.”

The beach area near the Conimicut Point sandbar offers scenic views of where the Providence River meets Narragansett Bay, but currents can move fast and forcefully, Hart said.

“It is one of the nicest locations in the city for beach access to the sea, with the ships going by, boats going by … but avoid the sandbar itself,” Hart advised the public at Monday’s press conference.

Advertisement:

According to Hart, the movement of a high volume of water creates a “funnel effect” as it passes through a narrow area near the sandbar. Police divers must be tethered to their boat in most situations when working there “or they have to actually plant themselves in the ground and dig along the surface, or else they’re going to get pulled,” he said.

“That sandbar, again, it’s very shallow, it’s very deceiving,” Hart said. “At low tide, you can walk out to almost the lighthouse itself. As that tide changes from low tide to high tide, it moves in extremely rapidly. There’s a very strong current there.”

Advertisement:

Sunday’s scene has played out at Conimicut Point several times in years past, most recently in 2013, when a 16-year-old Providence boy was swept away from the sandbar.

Signs warning of the hazardous conditions were erected in 1998 following the death of a man who drowned while attempting to save two children.

On social media Monday, some wondered if the city could do more to prevent swimmers from entering that part of the bay.

But with families and a city grieving, Picozzi, on Facebook, wrote that “now is not the time to to ask questions or talk about signs or whatever.”

“We’re very said and trying to absorb this,” he wrote.

Advertisement:

Speaking with reporters though, he said he was unsure what the current signage at the scene included and added that city officials would assess it.

“We witnessed a child being taken out of the water today … with the parents. It was heartbreaking. That’s just kind of what we’re doing right now — we’re trying to heal a little bit,” Picozzi said. “We’ll be taking a look at it, we’ll see if we can do something better.”

But, he cautioned, officials will never be able to keep people completely off the sandbar. Picozzi himself was out there as a child, he said.

Advertisement:

“We live in a town with 39 miles of coast, and it’s all dangerous,” he said. “These kinds of things unfortunately are going to happen. We have to do what we can to prevent them, and we’ll look at this situation in the coming days.”

A family member stood on the sandbar where the 10-year-old girl went missing in Narragansett Bay. DAVID L. RYAN/GLOBE STAFF
Jump To Comments

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com