An Edmonton girl who was pulled out of a pond near 82 Street and Crystallina Nera Way on Saturday afternoon died early Sunday.
A family friend said Khrystyna Maksymova, 14, was taken off life support at 1:30 a.m.
Khrystyna and her 11-year-old sister were walking a dog around the pond just before 2 p.m. on Saturday. The dog went into the water and Khrystyna went in after it, the friend said.
She said the girl was a strong swimmer but got stuck in the mud and reeds. Her sister was on the other side of the pond and heard Khrystyna screaming for help but couldn’t see her through the reeds.
The acting district fire chief said on Saturday that the conditions were tough and the water had “zero visibility.” Ed Pitman said that presented a challenge for firefighters as well as some neighbours who tried to rescue the girl before fire crews arrived.
On Sunday, Khrystyna’s parents laid white lilies at the edge of the water where she was pulled out.
“Their young, bright, beautiful daughter Krystyna drowned in a community lake trying to save her neighbour’s dog,” wrote the creator of a gofundme page to help the family with funeral costs.
“Her parents Svitlana and Volodymyr and her younger sister are devastated, destroyed, crushed by the sudden loss of their precious girl.”
Vanessa Freeman met Khrystyna just over a year ago, after seeing a poster the sisters had put up in the neighbourhood offering to walk dogs.
“They were actually walking dogs to hopefully get one of her own,” Freeman said. “Her parents… very, very kind people, were trying to instil the responsibility it takes to have a dog, so her and her sister were walking dogs to try to prove to their parents that they could have a dog of their own.”
Freeman said her dog absolutely adored Khrystyna.
“Khrystyna was a very sweet, kind girl, very polite. She loved animals… I can’t say that enough, what a great girl she was.”
“Krystyna would have jumped into that lake — just her instinct — and I can’t fault her for that. It would have been my instinct as well,” Freeman said. “She absolutely loved animals, and if she saw one in distress, she would have done that for her dog — or for anyone’s dog.”
The whole community was shaken by the news.
“I think what happened to Khrystyna was a real tragedy,” said Chris Buchanan, president of the Lago Lindo Community League. “I can’t imagine what her family is going through right now nor can I imagine what those who were here and tried so hard to save her yesterday are going through today.
“Our hearts are with Khrystyna and her family.”
The community is planning a vigil but the details have not yet been determined.
— With files from Sarah Kraus