British Columbia

Coquitlam man hailed for rescuing 2 young boys from icy lake

A quick-thinking former volunteer firefighter used his ice-rescue training and a ladder to help pull a boy to safety from an icy Coquitlam lake Thursday, after he saw the 10-year-old's head pop out of the icy waters.

'Obviously distraught and extremely cold,' says rescuer of 10-year-old boy he saw in lake

Coquitlam RCMP are praising quick-thinking neighbours who helped save a boy who fell through the ice on Oxbow Lake in North Coquitlam Thursday afternoon. (Mitch Muir)

A quick-thinking former volunteer firefighter used his ice-rescue training and a ladder to help pull a boy to safety from an icy Coquitlam lake Thursday, after he saw the 10-year-old's head pop out of the icy waters.

Mitch Muir, 55, usually works in downtown Vancouver, but he was at his home near Oxbow Lake on Thursday afternoon caring for his dog Joey, who had just had surgery. 

He said he looked up from his laptop and noticed a boy lying in the middle of the lake — a small football field-sized pond near his home.

Muir said that at first he just thought the boy had slipped and fallen.

'Worst place to fall through'

But then he spotted another boy's head pop out of the water and he realized that the two 10-year-old boys were in jeopardy.

"They actually fell through in the middle of the lake, so I guess it was supporting their weight up until [then], and then they got to the middle and I guess they hit a soft spot and fell through. I guess the worst place to fall through when you are out in the middle like that," he said.

Muir and two other neighbours scrambled to try to help the boys.

First they tried kayaks, but ice hampered their efforts.

Muir said he and another man tried to get to them on foot, but they kept falling through the ice.

'Grabbed the rung and popped right up'

So, Muir waded into the chest-deep water and he and another man worked to slide a ladder to the boy struggling in the icy lake.

"He grabbed the rung and popped right up," said Muir.

Muir was able to reach the boy and get him out of the frigid water just before the arrival of emergency responders, who were responding to 911 calls from the scene.

"He was obviously distraught and extremely cold. He was shaking quite a bit," said Muir.

It wasn't immediately clear how the first boy was rescued, but he reached the shore as well.

"They were both visibly upset, but last I heard I think the boys are going to be OK."

Both boys were taken to hospital to be checked for hypothermia and shock, a police release said.

Coquitlam RCMP issued a release that lauded the "heroic action" of Muir, who they credit with saving the lives of the two boys.

Muir remains unsure of who the boys are, but he's glad they are OK.

Mitch Muir, 55, says he took ice-rescue training when he worked as a volunteer firefighter in Sasamat 15 years ago. (Mitch Muir/Facebook)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yvette Brend is a Vancouver journalist. Yvette.Brend@cbc.ca or on Twitter or Instagram @ybrend

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