Calgary Herald

Sisters cling to life after icy plunge


Two young sisters are fighting for their lives after slipping through ice and nearly drowning on a rural property pond near Red Deer.

“They were just playing and went on the body of water and they fell through the ice,” said RCMP spokeswoma­n Doris Stapleton. “They were found submerged.”

The girls, ages three and five, were discovered in the metre-and-a-half deep water by fam- ily, who pulled them from the pond and called 911.

They were unconsciou­s when paramedics arrived and were airlifted to an Edmonton hospital in critical, life-threatenin­g condition.

Officials say emergency responders took “extraordin­ary measures” for the girls.

“Whenever life-saving measures are required for children following cold water submersion, every possible avenue is explored,” said RCMP Sgt. Patricia Neely.

“There’s a much greater chance of young children surviving cold water submersion than adults,” Neely said.

Adam Loria, of Alberta Health Services, said two ambulances from Red Deer and one from Sylvan Lake arrived at the property southwest of Red Deer within ten minutes of the 911 call, which came in at about 10:20 a.m.

“Rapid transport and advanced life support was immediatel­y initiated,” he said.

“Both little girls were in critical, life-threatenin­g condition. They were unconsciou­s.”

The girls were transporte­d to Red Deer Regional Hospital, before being airlifted by two STARS air ambulance helicopter­s to Edmonton’s Stollery Children’s Hospital.

A STARS spokesman said that before the choppers went to Red Deer, they first went to the local children’s hospitals to pick up pediatric specialist­s, including respirator­y therapists, doctors and nurses, to bring them to Red Deer.

That way, “they could begin that specialize­d care from the time they actually were landing versus waiting until they got them all the way back to the hospital,” said Heke.

Loria said the water was “quite cold,” which is some cases can be beneficial for some patients. “Hopefully it’s beneficial in this case,” he said.

“We really gave it our best shot and are hoping for the best for this family, especially since it’s Easter weekend.”

It’s unknown how long the girls were in the water, or whether they were being supervised at the time they went under, said RCMP, who are investigat­ing.

“No charges are pending at this time,” said Neely.

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