A 10-year-old girl had to be plucked from the icy waters of the Nicomekl River Tuesday morning, after some moms and kids heard her muffled cries for help.
Langley City Fire Rescue got a call at 8:40 a.m. for a water rescue of a young girl stuck waist deep, unable to move in the rushing, freezing waters of the Nicomekl, near the Langley Seniors Resource Centre.
“We still don’t know how long she was in there,” said City fire chief Rory Thompson.
Amanda Larsen was walking her seven-year-old son to Blacklock Fine Arts school when she saw the little girl trapped in the water.
“We were walking over the bridge when I saw her and I told the other moms walking to watch my son and I just ran down the bank,” said Larsen.
“There was no path to her so I just pushed through the branches and twigs to get to the edge of the water. I tried so hard to reach her but she was just out of my reach,” said Larsen.
“The current would have taken me down. The little girl was facing away from me. She had her winter jacket on, snow pants and even her backpack was still on. It was really scary.”
Larsen asked the girl if she could turn around but just then a Langley City firefighter jumped into the water and pushed the freezing child toward Larson, who pulled her to shore.
“She was pretty heavy with everything soaking wet, but I think you just get super strength in those situations,” Larsen said.
She then lent a hand to the firefighter, Joe Gary. Once out of the water, Gary quickly stripped the girl of her wet clothes and wrapped her in his fireman’s jacket, rushing her to the top of the hill and into the crew cab of the fire truck to warm up until the ambulance arrived.
“She had stopped shivering, so that’s not good. It means she had moderate hypothermia, and she was in a confused state,” Thompson said. The banks of the river are really slippery, so she likely would not have been able to climb out by herself.
“It was a team effort,” said Larsen. “But I’m not a hero. It’s a mom thing. You see a kid hurt and you just go to help. I’m just so glad she is OK. “It’s a miracle, really, that she lived through it. She’s one strong little girl.”
She was taken to hospital but checked out and was back at school the next day.
“This could have been so much worse. That water is ice cold,” said Thompson.
After rescuing the girl, Larsen was soaking wet, with the water forming ice on her jeans and the bottom of her coat.
Wet and cold from the ordeal, she walked her son to school.
“I was in shock. I went to the office where the principal gave me a blanket,” she said.
For Larsen, the best moment was getting to hug the little girl at school the next day.
“That was the best hug I’ve ever had, seeing her not wet or cold, but healthy and safe,” she said.
She met the little girl’s mom, too.
“She gave me a card and we both hugged and cried. It was very emotional,” she said.
“This was really scary, but I’m just so glad the little girl is OK.”