A Coquitlam man is being hailed as a hero after saving two 10-year-old boys from an icy lake Thursday afternoon, but he says he couldn’t have done it without some help.
Mitch Muir, who was working from his home on the edge of Oxbow Lake, said he looked up through his window and saw a boy lying down on the ice in the middle of the lake.
“It looked like he had just slipped,” Muir said. “Then, all of a sudden, I saw another child pop his head up out of the water, and I realized he had actually gone in.”
The boy on the ice had, in fact, fallen through as well, but was able to get himself out of the water. The other boy was having trouble getting out and was screaming for help, Muir said.
The 55-year-old immediately jumped into action, first grabbing his kayak to try and paddle his way towards the boy.
By that point, another man, Gary Clark, had already attempted his own kayak rescue of the boys before falling into the water himself.
“The boy was calling for help, and I was able to get him calmed down as I tried to get myself out,” Clark said.
WATCH: Coverage of winter rescues on Globalnews.ca
Meanwhile, Muir quickly found that he couldn’t move through the ice in his own kayak so he ran back to his house to grab a ladder.
“I’m a first responder and have taken ice rescue training so I know that a ladder can help distribute your weight,” Muir said.
He grabbed another man who was on the shore at the time, and the two of them fed the ladder across the ice to the boy, both men falling into the chilly waters themselves in the process.
The two men were able to get the boy to shore safely and hand him and the other boy off to first responders, who sent them to hospital to be checked for hypothermia and shock. The boys are expected to be OK.
Crews later had to rescue Clark from the water, along with Clark’s dog, who had also fallen in after going out onto the ice after Clark.
Muir was quick to commend the other man who helped him in the rescue, adding he was just glad they were both in the right place at the right time.
“Fortunately, we got there in time, and it turned out to be a good story,” he said.