A Colorado woman likely saved the lives of three children who fell into a frozen neighborhood pond last Sunday afternoon. Bystanders caught the harrowing rescue on tape as it unfolded.
The children, ranging in ages 4 to 11, fell into a partially frozen pond in a Denver suburb, according to the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office. The pond is a man-made retaining pond with a decorative fountain in the middle of an apartment complex; not a nature-made body of water in the wild.
A young resident of the complex, 23-year-old Dusti Talavera, watched the children fall into the pond from her window. Without even thinking, she sprung into action and began rescuing the children from the icy water.
“Before I even realized it, I was out there in the middle of the pond pulling two kids out,” Talavera told local reporters the following day. “And that’s when I fell in.”
Talavera helped to pull out the 4-year-old girl and the 11-year-old boy fairly quickly, but had trouble with the last child, a little 6-year-old girl. Luckily, the little girl’s teenaged cousin had joined the rescue effort by that point. With the extra hands and a measure of rope, Talavera and the teenaged cousin managed to rescue the 6-year-old girl as well.
“I tried to hold her head up. I tried to hold my head up. But the pond was really deep. A young man threw us a rope. He pulled us out,” Talavera said.
First Responders Save the Day
Sheriff’s deputies and local firefighters from the South Metro Fire Rescue arrived on the scene minutes later. The 6-year-old girl, though out of the pond, had stopped breathing and was cold to the touch, according to officials. She was also unconscious and had no pulse as she laid there in soaking wet, freezing clothes.
Deputies and firefighters performed lifesaving CPR on the girl until they could transfer her to a local children’s hospital. Hospital officials eventually released the girl with a clean bill of health. She has been reunited with her family and is feeling fine.
Talavera, who is being hailed as a hero, told reporters she “wasn’t concerned for her safety because they were babies and they needed help.”
“I think God saved them, and he used me, that’s what it was,” Talavera continued. “And then, I mean, they saved me.”
Unsurprisingly, South Metro Fire Rescue says that they receive multiple calls this time of year under similar circumstances. People and animals wander onto ice-covered bodies of water without knowing the strength of the ice and fall through. Once submerged, they have a difficult time moving because of the surrounding ice. Furthermore, once the cold water sets in and the body temperature drops, muscles begin freezing, as well. The whole situation amounts to a very deadly outcome more times than not.