Vernon teen hailed hero after saving girl from drowning

Valley Falls State Park in Vernon.


VERNON, Conn. (WTNH) — A teenager and a man are being hailed heroes for saving an 11-year-old girl’s life.

Alyanna Bukhari smiled and thanked the man who saved her life this Memorial Day weekend. It happened at the Valley Falls Park just after 5 in the evening. Kevin Kozak had been fishing when he noticed Alyanna go beneath the surface.

“So after a while I saw some bubbles come up and I swam over there and I couldn’t see because the water visibility was so low and I felt something against my leg and I tried to pick her up, but I was in pretty deep water,” said Kozak.

Kevin and another man were able to get the little girl to the beach where her father, Imtiaz Bukhari, was on the beach. She had no pulse.

“He couldn’t find it for like 30 seconds, and those were the longest 30 seconds for me. And he was just doing like this and this and I just gave up at that moment. And then when she opened her eyes I was like, thank God we got it. From there I knew the hospital and the people could take care of this,” said Imtiaz.

Alyanna handed out thank you cards to the police and paramedics while her father held back tears as he thanked Kevin for saving their daughter.

“I just want to say thank you to Kevin for doing this, it could have been a big tragedy, but thank God almighty she is with us today we are very happy and we are very thankful,” said Imtiaz.

Alyanna has made a full recovery.

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