An area man jumped into a swollen creek with an axe and rescued a toddler from the back seat of a submerged car near Princeton Saturday afternoon.
“He saved that child’s life,” said RCMP Sergeant Barry Kennedy. “These are actions that are consistent with the actions of heroes who receive awards.”
The drama unfolded at about 3 p.m., 11 km north of Princeton on Highway 5A.
“A woman had been driving when she lost control of the vehicle and went into the river. The vehicle flipped and began filling with water.”
Upside down and unable to free her three-year-old son who was trapped in the backseat, she managed to get out of the vehicle.
“She frantically attempted to unlock the doors and could not get them unlocked, and then attempted to smash out the door windows and then attempted to smash the back window,” said Kennedy.
“The child remained upside down, underwater, in the vehicle when a passerby stopped and realized that the child was trapped underwater in the car. He grabbed an axe and jumped into the water, smashed the rear window out of the car and went inside the car to rescue the child.”
Witnesses estimated the child was in the water for three minutes, but was able to recover without artificial respiration when he was brought to shore.
He was expelling water from his lungs and vomiting water, said Kennedy.
“The doctors at the Princeton hospital stated that it was a critical time to rescue the child at this point, before serious damage could occur,” said Kennedy.
The boy was transferred from Princeton to Penticton General Hospital and has made a full recovery, he added.
As The Spotlight went to press Kennedy was unable to identify the mother and son, or the man who saved the child, although he said he believes they are all Princeton residents.
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