A classic winter scene of kids playing on an icy pond turned frightening in Denver over the weekend, but thanks to an observant neighbor, a major tragedy was averted. KDVR reports that four children, reportedly related, were playing on said pond near an apartment complex when the ice gave way and three of them—a 4-year-old girl, a 6-year-old girl, and an 11-year-old boy—fell into the water around 3:30pm, per the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office. As luck would have it, 23-year-old Dusti Talavera lives in the apartment building near the pond and just happened to be looking out the window when the kids tumbled into the frigid water.
"Before I even realized it, I was out there on the middle of the pond, pulling two kids out," Talavera said at a Monday presser of her successful rescue of the boy and the youngest girl. "And that's when I fell in the pond." The young woman found the ice too slippery to gain traction, and so she treaded water in the 15-foot-deep pond, struggling to keep herself and the 6-year-old still in the water afloat, per the Washington Post. That's when the 16-year-old cousin of the little girl rushed to the edge and threw Talavera a rope, which she grabbed onto, pulling herself and the child out of the water.
The 6-year-old girl wasn't breathing and lacked a pulse by the time Arapahoe County sheriff's deputies arrived on the scene, but thanks to their CPR efforts, as well as lifesaving efforts by firefighters from South Metro Fire Rescue, the girl soon became responsive again. She was said to be in critical but stable condition as of Monday at an area hospital and is expected to survive. "I'm thankful for that young man who threw the rope," Talavera says, per 9NEWS. Without the teen's assistance, "I would have been in there longer, she would have been in there longer. I don't know what would have happened."
The first responders who were there, meanwhile, are praising Talavera for her quick thinking. "What she did was amazing," one of the SMFR firefighters says. "I hope that if this happened to one of mine, somebody like her was close by." Authorities are reminding local parents that ice on ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water may not be as thick as it seems and that they should warn their kids about the perils of playing on it. (Read more uplifting news stories.)