Man Feels Something Hit Leg, Then Sees Foot Pop Up


Not What He Expected

Angelo can feel the warm sun on his cool skin as he floats in the bright blue water of his local lake. He sure did love this lake, despite what people thought of it. Then suddenly he felt something brush past his leg. “It’s probably just a fish,” Angelo thought, but he was so wrong.

He takes a closer look and at first, it looked like a bit of algae floating in the water. Then, just as the sun glistened on the calming waves, Angelo realized this was not a fish or algae. It was toes. Actual human toes.

An Ordinary Life

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Angelo Mondragon lived an ordinary life, in a seemingly-ordinary town called Rosewood. By day he was a plumber, and by night he was a dedicated dad to his two young children.

But this devoted dad had no idea he was about to uncover something truly unimaginable when he went swimming in a lake one warm Saturday in July.

Taking His Kids To The Lake

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Angelo decided to take his family there for the weekend. It would be an excellent way to relax from the bustle of the weekday, or so he thought.

They all hopped in the car and drove 25-minutes until they reached the beautiful lake. As they arrived, they saw groups of people enjoying what the lake had to offer – boating, hiking, swimming and much more. As he turned his car into the parking lot, he could have never have known what was awaiting him in the beautiful clear water.

Something Waiting

Lake Windsor

July in Colorado can come with exceptional heat. Fort Collins and its surrounding areas can soar up to 87°F, so of course, everyone was looking for a place where they could cool off.

He was not the only one who thought about the intriguing idea to cool off in the lake’s water — he was blissfully unaware that there was a scene unfolding beneath the waves. He couldn’t have expected what grisly find was waiting for him.

The Perfect Lake

Public Domain

Angelo’s local lake was gorgeous, boasting crystal blue waters and stunning scenery. It was the perfect place to unwind after a long day.

The view was wondrous to behold, and on the day that he decided to visit there with his family, it seemed to be beaming with life. But there were rumors about this lake, and they were rumors that would leave a shiver up your spine.

Small Town

USA Today

Angelo had lived in Rosewood his entire life. It was a quiet town and everybody knew everybody’s business. Despite this, the people there were friendly folk who would do anything to help their neighbors out.

But there was something about this town that plagued its townspeople for years. A myth, you could call it, about the lake, and something terrible that had happened there 30 years ago.

An Accident In The Lake


You see, an incident took place at the lake 30 years ago where a child went missing while swimming out in the water.

Unfortunately, after an extensive search, a body was never found, and as a result, many townspeople claimed the lake has been haunted ever since.


Public Domain

Having lived in Rosewood his entire life, Angelo had witnessed the unfortunate tragedy that tore his town in half 30 years ago. He had witnessed the upset it caused and how it had devastated the whole community.

Despite this, Angelo never listened to the rumors about the lake. But he should have.

Arriving At The Lake

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Angelo arrived at the lake with his two children and a smile crept across his face. This was going to be a good day, he could just feel it!

After setting up near the edge of the lake, Adam decided to go to the water to cool off. He had no idea what was waiting for him.

Cooling Off

Lake Windsor

As Angelo walked towards the shore, sweaty and hot, he could think of nothing better than submerging his body in the cold waters to let his body temperature wind down.

As he dipped his feet into the lake, a satisfying sensation went through him, but it would soon be shattered. From there he slowly entered the water until it covered him waist-deep. But a few seconds later, his temperature would rise in such a way it would be difficult to even breathe.

Deeper Into The Lake

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With the sun beaming down on his warm skin, Angelo felt good swimming in the lake. He continued to go deeper and deeper out into the water.

But as he got further out, he had no idea he was about to uncover something that would leave him feeling sick to his stomach.

Alone… Or So He Thought

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Angelo was the only one out this deep. He looked toward the shore. He could see his two kids near the edge and they were fine. He noticed that the lake had become packed.

It seemed like everyone in the surrounding areas had had the same idea. But Angelo was the only one who was greeted with such an unpleasant surprise.

Something Under The Water

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Around 15 minutes had passed and Angelo was still bobbing about in the bright blue water, breathing in the fresh air and nature.

As he relaxed in peace, he heard the birds chirp from above. Then suddenly, he felt something brush past his leg.

It Was Something Else

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At first, he didn’t think too much about it. After all, there must be plenty of fish swimming under the water. But as the object hit him again, this time with more force, it caught his attention.

Now, it didn’t feel like a fish. It felt like something else. He took a deep breath and got a closer look and uncovered something truly unimaginable.

Sick To His Stomach

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At first, when Angelo looked below it looked like a bit of algae flowing in the water above some rocks. Then, just as the sun glistened on the waves, Angelo realized it wasn’t algae. He kicked underwater to bring whatever it was up to the surface.

He saw toes. Human toes. He felt sick to his stomach.

Quick Decision

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He pulled the toddler out of the water and began to scream at the girl’s family and anyone who could hear him to call 9-1-1. “I grabbed her and carried her limp body to the shore,” he said.

When he reached the edge of the lake, he was met with a paramedic who immediately took the girl away to the hospital. But would she make it? Who even was she? And what was she doing out in the lake by herself?

Dire Situation

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He pulled the toddler out of the water and began to scream at the girl’s family and anyone who could hear him to call 9-1-1. “I grabbed her and carried her limp body to the shore,” he said.

When he reached the edge of the lake, he was met with a paramedic who immediately took the girl away to the hospital. But would she make it? Who even was she? And what was she doing out in the lake by herself?

Emergency Services

USA Today

“I saw just the bottom of her feet and then right then at that moment, that became my child, I reached in, and I pulled her out like I would any of my babies,” said Angelo.

When he reached the edge of the lake, he was met with a paramedic who immediately took the girl away to the hospital. But would she make it? Who was she? And what was she doing out in the lake by herself?

3-Year-Old Girl

USA Today

The girl was three-year-old Sitali Hernandez who had been swimming in the lake before her accident. She had hypothermia, her lungs were filled with fluid and doctors were worried about how long her brain had been without oxygen.

Despite being rescued by Angelo, nobody knew how long she had been under the water.

All OK

USA Today

Emma Hernandez got the call she never could have imagined getting – her daughter’s limp body was found underwater. She rushed to be by her side.

Angelo’s quick thinking had saved Hernandez’s daughter. “Her lungs are good, her heartbeat is good. Everything is good,” said Hernandez to USA Today after Sitlaly had been given the OK from her doctors.

Tears Of Joy

Youtube – USA Today

Emma Hernandez met the man who saved her daughter’s life at the hospital where she was recovering. When she saw Angelo, she ran to meet him and could do nothing but cry and express her gratitude.

She embraced him and stammered “…There are no words… no words… how much I can thank you!” — her outpouring to the man who took action and saved her baby girl was truly something to behold. They both knew how it could have all gone so very wrong in an instant had he not been at the lake that day.

Waiting For Him

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“You saved her… you saved my baby!” gasped Emma. Then she told Angelo that someone was waiting for him. That someone was Sitlaly.

She couldn’t wait to see her saviour, and as soon as she was well enough, she asked for him. “I can’t wait to see her, she’s part of our family now…you guys are part of our family now,” Angelo said emotionally. And when he saw her, his heart was filled with joy to see her sitting up and talking.


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“If I was not in that right spot at the right time, it could have been a search and rescue mission,” Angelo told USA Today. “It felt like something you normally wouldn’t feel in the water,” Angelo said in an interview.

“I did sort of a back kick to bring up whatever it was. Then I saw the bottom of a baby’s foot float up. As I told the little girl’s mom when I saw the baby’s toes, that became my baby.”

A Happy Ending

USA Today

It’s apparent the Hernandez family was lucky to have Angelo there that day, but now, Angelo has seen with his own two eyes how incredibly easy it is to have a toddler wander off into the water.

And the statistics are frightening. According to the CDC, approximately 10 toddlers drown every day in the United States. But Angelo hopes to change that.

Raising Awareness

USA Today

The terrifying ordeal at the lake has prompted Angelo to work with local businesses and residents to collect life vests for little ones on beaches.

“The baby was not wearing a life vest,” he said. If she was wearing one, the whole situation could have been different. And, if it wasn’t for Angelo’s actions that day, who knows what could have happened to Sitali? Luckily for her, she had a guardian angel looking after her that day.

Lucky Coincidence

Greeley Tribune

This had been Angelo’s first visit to the lake. And luckily, when he pulled Sitali out of the water, there just happened to be two nurses on the beach that day.

Angelo and the two off-duty nurses managed to resuscitate Sitali while they waited for emergency services to arrive. The stars aligned for the little girl that day – that’s why she survived.

She Wouldn’t Have Had A Chance

CBS Denver

“As tragic as it was, she would have had no chance without that intervention from bystanders,” Windsor Severance Fire Rescue Fire Chief Herb Brady said.

But, in yet another lucky coincidence for Sitali, Tabatha and Thomas Lang, an emergency room nurse and air nurse, weren’t even supposed to be at Windsor lake that day.

They Weren’t Supposed To Be There


“Saving the girl was truly just our job, it just happened to be on the beach that day,” Tabatha told reporters. And it was extremely lucky that they were there.

Tabatha and Thomas Lang had made plans to go up into the mountains that very weekend. However, at the last minute, the couple decided to change their pans and do some paddleboarding on Windsor Lake.

Just Doing Their Job

Greeley Tribune

While Tabatha and Thomas were paddleboarding in the lake, they heard screaming. “It wasn’t a decision to help,” Tabatha said. “We went to work.

“We’ve worked together for a long time,” she said. “We didn’t have to think about what we were doing. We just did

Twist Of Fate

Greeley Tribune

As Tabitha and Thomas were performing CPR on Sitali and trying to clear her airways, other bystanders on the beach helped control the crowd and made sure there was enough space for emergency personnel could get through. Just before the ambulance arrived, Sitali started to breathe on her own. An emergency medical technician scooped Sitali up and put her in the ambulance.

“Maybe it was meant to be that everyone was there to help her,” Tabatha said. “If someone hadn’t found the girl and pulled her out of the water, who knows how long she might have been down there.”