Axe-wielding Keremeos hero describes toddler’s rescue

“I searched under the water for what I thought would be shoulder straps”

Axe-wielding Keremeos hero describes toddler’s rescue

A Keremeos man is being hailed as a hero after he rescued a three-year-old boy who was trapped underwater in a car on the side of Highway 5A near Princeton last Saturday.

Brian Vanderlinde, who broke the back window of the vehicle with an axe and crawled inside to pull the toddler to safety, provided a written account of the story to The Spotlight.

Princeton truck driver Gary Lind assisted in the rescue. The men were aided roadside by an off-duty emergency room doctor who pulled over and helped resuscitate the child.

Related: Courageous man pulls child from submerged car

Vanderlinde and his 12-year-old son came across the scene at about 3 p.m.

“I saw a vehicle upside down in the creek. I opened my door to the woman frantically screaming ‘My son, My son!’” said Vanderlinde.

The car’s horn was incessantly blaring, he recalled.

“I turned to my son and told him to call 911. When I ran over the bank I noticed a truck coming and waved my arms to get him to stop.”

Vanderlinde was hip deep in the frigid water and could not open the doors of the overturned car.

“Looking up I saw the truck driver running and yelled at him: ‘We need a hammer.’ He came back quickly with an axe and passed it to me over the car. I turned and smashed the window.”

Inside the car Vanderlinde could see most of the boy’s body was suspended upside down, submerged.

“I saw only a small lap in a car seat out of the water … I searched under the water for what I thought would be shoulder straps … I couldn’t figure out the belts so decided to take the entire seat out and when I released the car seatbelt everything came loose.”

Vanderlinde passed the unconscious child to Lind, who began administering back blows and ran with him up the bank.

“When I moved over to them the driver told me he was breathing. Kneeling down beside them I could see bubbles coming from the child’s mouth.”

While Vanderlinde was looking for dry clothes for the boy another car stopped on the scene, and a physician jumped out and began examining the child.

“She began looking the child over when he spit and puked up water, waking up. Then you could hear the ambulance siren coming and it arrived.”

He described feeling “great relief.”

According to Princeton RCMP Sergeant Barry Kennedy, the boy had been underwater for about three minutes.

“The doctors at Princeton hospital stated that it was a critical time to rescue the child at this point.”

The Similkameen Spotlight was unable to reach Lind.

The 21-year-old mother of the child, who lives in Princeton and who was driving the car when it flipped into the water, declined an interview, saying the situation was too traumatizing to discuss.

According to police the child was transported to Penticton General Hospital and has made a full recovery.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook

Just Posted

Grads at Riverside Park in Vanderhoof, B.C. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof celebrates 2021 graduates

NVSS grads got together at Riverside Park on Friday, June 11 in… Continue reading

Singing and drumming was heard in downtown Vanderhoof on Monday, June 14. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Photos: Honour Walk held in Vanderhoof

An honour walk was held Monday June 14 in Vanderhoof, remembering the… Continue reading

Emergency crews responded to the scene of a suspicious fire at the southeast corner of the OK Café in Vanderhoof Friday, June 11. The historic building is 101-years-old. (BC RCMP photo)
OK Café in Vanderhoof alright after suspicious fire

Damage kept to a minimum by firefighters

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. Northern Health confirmed it has the lowest vaccination rates amongst the province’s five regional health authorities. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Vaccination rates in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort St James well below provincial average

COVID-19 immunization clinics for youth 12+ coming up in Fort St. James

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Most Read