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Man hailed as hero after rescuing struggling child from north Edmonton pond

Click to play video: 'Man hailed rescues struggling child from north Edmonton pond'
Man hailed rescues struggling child from north Edmonton pond
Fred Wasylyshyn, 86, says he is shaken up but alright after his daily afternoon walk turned into a water rescue mission when he saved a little girl who was struggling in a pond near his Edmonton retirement home. Lisa MacGregor reports – Aug 28, 2023

Fred Wasylyshyn says he is shaken up but alright after his daily afternoon walk turned into a water rescue mission when he saved a little girl who was struggling in a pond near his retirement home.

“I’ve never had such an experience — it’s a gorgeous feeling,” Wasylyshyn said.

The 86-year-old said he was taking his dog, Bob, on a walk around the pond in north Edmonton Thursday when he noticed a girl around four years old walking towards the water.

Fred Wasylyshyn is being called a hero after he rescued a little girl from a pond in north Edmonton Aug. 24, 2023.
Fred Wasylyshyn is being called a hero after he rescued a little girl from a pond in north Edmonton Aug. 24, 2023. Lisa MacGregor / Global News

Even as he yelled at her to stop, she kept walking down towards the stormwater facility, which can be dangerous to swim in, according to signs posted around the water.

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“I started hollering for help,” he said.

Wasylyshyn watched as the girl kept walking straight towards the lake and took a step in. He said he knew he had to take action, so he got off of his mobility scooter.

“I tried to walk down, I can’t walk on that rough ground,” said Wasylyshyn. “I fell, but I got myself down there … (it was) real muddy.”

He made it all the way down to the shore and got in the water to grab the girl.

“It was getting too deep for her, and she was sputtering, but for some reason she was still floating,” said Wasylyshyn.

Wasylyshyn said he grabbed her foot and pulled her towards him and got her back to shore where seven or eight people had gathered around and called paramedics.

Wasylyshyn’s wife, Ruth, was at the bank during the rescue and returned home to find him shaking, covered in mud and soaking wet.

“My first thought was, ‘Did he have a heart attack?’” said Ruth.

When she found out the story, she said it was unbelievable but somehow not surprising.

“(My husband is) a very caring person and would do anything to help anybody out,” she said.

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Wasylyshyn said he was glad he was in the right place at the right time.

“If I’d have come down three or four minutes after that, I wouldn’t have seen her going down there,” he said.

Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) told Global News it received a report of a child in the water at the pond at around 2:30 p.m. One child was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, according to EFRS.

Alberta Health Services said the child was taken to hospital in stable condition for observation.

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