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Detroit firefighter veteran found dead after diving into river to save 3 young girls

Rescue crews began searching for Sgt. Sivad Johnson of the Detroit Fire Department on Friday night after his 10-year-old daughter reported her father missing.

A veteran firefighter in Detroit was found dead on Saturday after he dived into a river to save three young girls from drowning, authorities said.

Image: Sivad Johnson
Sivad Johnson.Detroit Fire Dept.

Rescue crews began searching the Detroit River on Friday night after the 10-year-old daughter of Sgt. Sivad Johnson of the city's fire department reported that her father went missing after he dived into the river to rescue young girls from drowning, Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell told NBC News on Saturday.

Johnson, 48, a Detroit native, had been with the fire department more than two decades. He was a second-generation firefighter, as hisfather as well as his brother also served in that role.

Divers from Detroit's fire and police departments recovered Johnson's body from the river, Michigan State Police tweeted.

He was found Saturday afternoon and pronounced dead at the hospital shortly afterward, Fornell said.

State troopers and officers from the state Department of Natural Resources responded to the scene after Michigan State Police said they received a call at about 9 p.m. Friday night. Upon investigation, officials found that Johnson had jumped into the water alongside several other people to rescue three girls from drowning. He was off duty at the time.

The girls were rescued and safely taken home, but Johnson’s daughter never saw her father return from the river. It is believed that Johnson may have been dragged underwater by a rip current, according to NBC affiliate WDIV in Detroit.

In 2017, Johnson was awarded the Detroit Fire Department Medal of Valor, Fornell told the Detroit News.