A Fort Wayne father says his daughter has suffered no physical effects after he and her brother rescued her from nearly drowning Saturday afternoon, but the trauma of the experience has kept her home from school Monday.
Monday morning Dale Buuck said that because of living in the 16000 block of Tonkel Road with a pond, his two children are both strong swimmers and the family has rules about staying off the ice.
“But she didn't follow them,” Buuck said of 8-year-old Samantha.
Buuck said Samantha – dressed in heavy snow pants, boots and a coat – didn't have a chance once she fell through the ice at about 12:53 p.m. Saturday.
Buuck said he heard her 12-year-old brother calling him, and when he ran out, Anthony was standing on the edge trying to reach his sister.
“I tried to yell at him to get back from the edge; I saw what was happening,” Buuck said.
But before he could get out the warning his son fell through as well.
“I thought, do I call 911 now or go out there?” Buuck said.
He raced out to the pond and into the water. He was able to grab his son, who had a hold of Samantha, even though she was underwater.
The ice wasn't strong enough to hold weight, Buuck said, but was just thick enough to get in the way as he struggled to get his children out of the icy water.
“I knew the depth of the pond, and I knew if I could get a few feet closer to shore I could touch bottom.” Buuck said.
The water was 9 feet deep where Samantha and her brother had gone in. After a few minutes of floundering around Buuck said he was able to touch bottom. After that it was a matter of getting the kids out.
“Anthony never let go of his sister, even when she went under,” Buuck said.
Once they made it onto shore Anthony ran to call 911 while Buuck started CPR.
“She started to breathe a little bit,” Buuck said. By then help had arrived.
It was estimated that Samantha was underwater for two minutes. She was taken to Parkview Hospital in critical condition.
“Luckily the water was so cold when she fell in she didn't take in a big gasp of water into her lungs,” Buuck said.
Buuck and Anthony were also taken to Parkview for treatment of hypothermia and cold-related injuries.