Nova Scotia

Girls safe after arena roof snow buries car

Two 11-year-old Nova Scotia girls are safe after snow slides off the Parrsboro Lions Arena roof and buries the car they are sitting in.

Two 11-year-old girls are safe after the car they were sitting in was buried in snow from the Parrsboro Lions Arena roof on Saturday.

The two girls, Ashley Hilling and Samantha Levangie — defensive players for the Antigonish Bulldogs Peewee hockey team — had just climbed into the back of a car, leaving one door partly open, when the snow slid off the arena's roof.

"I was getting in the car, Samantha was already in, and I was just about to pull my foot in when it all fell and slammed on my foot — the door," Hilling said.

"I was talking to Ashley and then the next thing I heard was her screaming," Levangie said.

RCMP Const. Dal Hutchinson, a coach for the other team, the Parrsboro Predators, said he was inside the rink when the snow fell, burying four cars altogether and smashing their windshields.

"There was a loud noise, which sounded a lot like a freight train," Hutchinson said. "Someone said 'that's the snow coming off the roof.' Within a minute, less than a minute, someone came running in the rink saying there were two young girls trapped in a car."

Hutchinson said the car with the two girls inside was almost entombed by wet heavy snow.

"Pretty near three-quarters buried by snow," he said. "All you could see was the back window and the roof of the vehicle, and there was a lot of commotion, there was a lot of screaming."

The front seat was filled with snow, he said. A coach and parents with shovels managed to rescue the girls, bending the car door in the process.

Levangie's father, Jim Levangie, was there to help with the rescue.

"Oh, just terrified, absolutely," he said. "We did get the door open enough to get her foot out, and pulled the girls out."

The girls were taken to hospital as a precautionary measure. Levangie needed three stitches on a finger, and Hilling's foot was badly bruised.

A local blueberry farmer arrived with a tractor to make sure no one else was buried in snow.

"We had probably close to 30 people there, going through the snow, because we did not know at the time if there was any other persons buried in the snow," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson blamed a heavy snowfall and fluctuating temperatures for the accident.

Jim Levangie said he heard that snow fell from the other side of the arena Friday night.

"Why was there no barricades?" he asked. "Why was there no caution tape? Why was there no warning?"

He said the scare in Parrsboro should remind people it's important to keep snow from building up on the roofs of large public buildings, especially those with pitched roofs.