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Girl stuck in ocean says teachers wouldn't help her

Posted at 7:05 AM, Jun 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-03 10:05:36-04

IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. (KGTV) - Five 6th grade students got caught in a rip current on a field trip to Imperial Beach.

A mother tells 10News teachers did nothing to help her daughter as she screamed for help.

Anna Villalpando sent her daughter on a field trip to the beach to celebrate the end of the school year. The next time she heard from her was through tears over the phone. 

"I almost drowned mommy, please come get me," said Villalpando. "I don't want to be here anymore."
 
She says her daughter saw another classmate stuck in a rip current screaming for help. She jumped right in to save them. 
 
"Then she started getting pulled through the rip current. Then another student went in to help my daughter," said Villalpando.
 
It started a chain reaction that brought them in one by one. Suddenly, five Central Elementary School students were struggling to stay afloat. 
  
"She said that they were all screaming, they were all crying, they were all waving. She personally told me, 'I thought I was going to die because they weren't coming to help us.' I said, 'so the teacher saw you? All of you? And she said yes."' 
 
"I was upset that if adults actually saw kids literally drowning why wouldn't they jump in and help."
 
Lifeguards eventually pulled the kids onshore. Two of them were taken to the hospital. 
 
"I'm like, 'oh my god, are they okay?' She said, 'I don't know, mom, but they weren't breathing."'
 
Villalpando is outraged that no one told her sooner. 
 
"I would have easily picked her up, but I didn't get a call from the school. I had to get a call from my daughter ."
 
She came to tears as she commended her daughter's bravery. 
 
"It takes a lot of guts to actually go in and try to save someone. I don't know what I would have done if I would have lost my daughter."
 
The two kids taken to the hospital were released later that day.
 
Lifeguards say that area of the ocean near Seacoast Drive and Donax Avenue is prone to rip currents because it's settled between a jetty and a pier. They even put flags up every day as a warning. 
 
South Bay Union Schools released a statement Thursday afternoon saying they let the city know about the trip ahead of time so that lifeguards would be stationed nearby.