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LEHI – Two boys are alive and well after falling through the ice at a pond in Lehi, thanks to a quick-thinking group of friends and a neighbor who saw it happen.
Karen Nielson was at home when she saw a group of kids venturing out onto the frozen surface on New Year’s Eve.
“I wasn’t supposed to be here,” she said.
She was supposed to be taking her children sledding but her husband happened to get home early and took the kids instead.
So Nielson stayed home and began working on the dishes in her kitchen when she noticed the six children exploring the area around the pond.
“So, I got nervous and said, ‘ah they wouldn’t. There’s no way they’d get on there,’” Nielson said. “I’ve seen so many kids out there and I cringe every single time.”
This time was no different as some of the kids ventured onto the ice. But then, it happened.
“I looked up and lo and behold I saw two kids in the ice,” she said.
Two boys around 14 years old had fallen through into the deep water about 20 feet from shore, according to Nielson.
She ran out to her balcony and called 911. All the while she could hear one of the boys screaming, “Help! I can’t breathe! I can’t move! I can’t get up!”
The other teens in the group didn’t hesitate to respond to the cries for help. Nielson said they threw rocks onto the ice to break it up and create a path to the shore for the two boys. Then they grabbed sticks to try and free them. Still, Nielson couldn’t help but think of the worst.
“When I went to go down there I thought to myself, ‘there’s no way they’re going to get back themselves,'” she said. “We’re in trouble.”
Incredibly, the friends persevered so that by the time Nielson arrived at the shore, the boys were out.
As I replayed it over and over in my mind, there’s no doubt in my mind that I was meant to be here and they were being watched over.
She said the older of the two, who she estimated was in the water between five and seven minutes, told her, “I’m so cold. I’m so cold. Help me. Can I come in your home?”
“He was so lethargic and so out of breath and could hardly walk and so I grabbed his arm and put it around my neck and put my arm around his waist and carried him to my home,” Nielson said.
With 20 years of experience in the medical field, Nielson understood the danger of hypothermia and staying out in the cold with their freezing clothes.
“Their heart rate was high,” she said. “Their blood pressure was high and their temperature was extremely low. As fast as I could I was having them get those wet clothes off and wrapping them in blankets.”
By the time first responders arrived minutes later, the boys were cold and exhausted, but safe.
“As I replayed it over and over in my mind, there’s no doubt in my mind that I was meant to be here and they were being watched over,” Nielson said.
She hoped their story serves as a reminder to others of the dangers of venturing out onto ponds and lakes this winter. She and other neighbors are asking the city to put out signs as a warning to visitors.
“Every parent. Please, please, please talk to (your) children about this.”