Axe-wielding Keremeos hero describes toddler’s rescue

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

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

UFV introduces first mindfulness graduate program in Canada

Most of the University of the Fraser Valley program is offered online

Missing man from Chilliwack was riding a silver mountain bike

RCMP investigators are asking the public to keep an eye out for the 70-year-old man

Enjoy the enchanting and powerful sounds of the cello at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre

Join cellist Beth Root Sandvoss as she performs Cellicious, a concert full of energy and intensity

Mounties hunt for missing Langley man

The public has been asked to help locate David Grainger, last seen on March 19

Lagoon improvements, but no safety audit recommendations, coming to Harrison

The lagoon will see electrical upgrades, a new flag pole and fencing, but no life jackets or signs

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Punching Parkinson’s in the Fraser Valley

Rock Steady Boxing program, designed to help battle symptoms of Parkinson’s, coming to Abbotsford in April

Baby left alone in vehicle in B.C. Walmart parking lot

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

Most Read