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Plumber saves little girl from drowning in Colorado lake

The last thing he expected to find on his first trip to Windsor Lake, Colo., was a 4-year-old girl submerged in the water on the verge of death.

But that’s exactly what happened to Angelo Mondragon on Sunday, and the 32-year-old plumber became a life-saver to little Sitlali Hernandez and a hero to her stunned family.

“If I was not in the right spot at the right time, it could have been a search-and-rescue mission,” Mondragon told the Coloradoan. “As I told the little girl’s mom, when I saw the baby’s toes, that became my baby.”

The incredible incident happened at about 2:30 p.m. Mondragon said he was wading through waist-deep water when he felt something strange bump into his leg. As he kicked the object to see what it was, tiny toes floated to the water’s surface.

“I saw the bottom of a baby’s foot float up,” he said.

Instantly, the father of two switched into daddy mode. He screamed for the child’s family and frantically pulled her out of the water.

The toddler was not wearing a life vest.

He carried her limp body to shore while others called 911.

Mondragon said that Sitlali was unconscious, turning blue and barely breathing. Two nearby off-duty nurses resuscitated her before the paramedics arrived.

The ambulance transported her to the Medical Center of the Rockies, then moved her to the Children’s Hospital in Aurora.

The child was in good condition and talking on Monday, hospital officials told 9 News.

That same day, Sitlali’s hero surprised her with a visit.

“I’m coming to let her know that I love her and she’s a part of my family now,” Mondragon said.

During the emotional reunion, Sitlali’s mother, Emma, gratefully thanked Mondragon, the tears streaming down her face.

“You saved her,” she said. “You saved my baby.”

The near drowning inspired Mondragon to start collecting life vests and flotation devices for families who can’t afford them.

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