Residents of the hamlet of Priddis, Alta. are coming together to help the family of a young boy who died on Thursday after falling into a septic tank.
Community members have identified the victim as two-year-old Aaden Blackburn.
First responders were called just before 1 p.m. to a property near Highway 22X and Priddis Valley Road, west of Calgary.
The boy was removed from the tank and flown to the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary via STARS Air Ambulance. EMS said he was transported in critical, life-threatening condition and later died.
“This has been an unmitigated tragedy for the community,” said Ed Osborne, president of the Priddis Community Association on Saturday. “A lot of the younger families know those involved. Obviously, if you have young children, you’re going to be affected in a significant way over an incident like this.”
Osborne said the boy’s parents were looking into registering Aaden for preschool next fall. He said the boy’s older sister goes to Red Deer Lake School and is also a member of the Panthers hockey team.
“There is a pretty active sports program here that the family is involved with. They are well-established in the community from that perspective. The parents in both school and hockey will certainly know them and be willing to offer a hand when requested,” Osborne said.
In addition, a crowdfunding site has been set up to help the family.
At this point, community members are giving the Blackburn family time and privacy to deal with their loss.
“As a parent, this is going to be very difficult to deal with so we are there for them for friendship and support. When they are able to receive that, by all means the community is going to be behind them,” Osborne said.
“When you have children, things happen. You can’t necessarily be watching them every second. You just hope it doesn’t happen to your kids,”
An investigation is underway to determine how the boy managed to get into the underground tank. Right now the community is focused on helping his parents and siblings cope.
A funeral is planned for Tuesday in Calgary. The funeral announcement noted that Aaden was full of life and adventure and loved playing with his trucks. The family is asking that memorial tributes be made to the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.