Massachusetts Man Dives into Freezing Harbor to Save 5-Year-Old Girl

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A man leaped into Barnstable Harbor to rescue a 5-year-old girl moments after she lost her balance and fell in, officials said.

Gary Richard was eating lunch with his girlfriend in their car Saturday afternoon near the Ocean Street docks when they saw the girl fall in the water. She had been throwing rocks from a dock into the harbor.

Richard, who moved to Yarmouth from Fall River six months ago, looked down from the edge of the dock and saw the girl in the water about 6 feet below.

“I saw her face and I just jumped,” Richard said, describing the water as freezing. “It was so cold, it was painful.”

The girl reached for him and Richard grabbed her under one of her arms. Richard held her up as the boyfriend of the girl’s mother, who had been working on a boat nearby, took the child into his arms, police said.

Autumn Campinha, 5, of Barnstable appeared to be uninjured but was brought to Cape Cod Hospital as a precaution.

Police said Richard’s fast action likely saved the girl because the water was murky and cold.

“I guess I saved somebody’s life,” he said. “It feels great.”

Just when my faith in mankind was vanishing…this Noble gentleman comes along and restores it!



About the Author

SAHM of 2 boys and founder of, World Traveled Family and The World We Share. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!

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