Sarasota officer saves several children after boats capsize

Herald staff reportJuly 17, 2013 

— The Sarasota Police Department announced Wednesday Officer William "Bud" Johnson rescued several children during a summer storm Tuesday.

At about 2:15 p.m., 43 children in 25 boats were taking part in a sailing camp when a rain squall caught them by surprise. The boats capsized near 1717 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota.

All children were wearing life vests and used their training from camp to remain calm. Camp administrator Karen Tone told police they were bringing the children in when the squall hit.

Nine safety power boats with instructors and four squadron members in personal boats helped pluck children from the water and brought them to shore.

Johnson along with several other officers from his shift responded to various locations around Ken Thompson Parkway to locate other children. Johnson saw several children in distress and jumped onto a small dingy with one of the camp instructors and began pulling children on the boat with him.

“This officer exemplified exactly what police officers are: heroes," said Chief Bernadette DiPino. "He was instrumental in the saving of the lives of many young people.”

All children attending the camp were recovered without injury.

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