A Heroic 10-Year-Old Hamilton Boy Saved His Friend From Drowning In Lake Ontario
Police were only in the area "by a stroke of luck."
At pretty much the coldest time of the year, the heroic act of one 10-year-old Hamilton boy saved his friend's life just before the holidays. The kids had gone onto the docks near Hamilton before one of them slipped into the cold Lake Ontario water on December 19. The other child managed to hold his buddy afloat before the police were able to come and help with the rescue.
According to a Hamilton Police news release, the two boys were on the east side of the Hamilton Bay Sailing Club around 6:30 p.m.
CP24 reports the kids explained they were wandering near the waters after exploring a nearby forest, and one of them slipped and broke through the ice.
Extremely fortuitously for the pair of children, the Hamilton police ACTION team had been patrolling the area and noticed someone in the lake.
The police noted themselves in the release that their ability to respond quickly to the scene was due to nothing more than "a stroke of luck."
When the officers had arrived, they say that the one child was almost fully submerged. However, his heroic little friend was still holding onto him, trying to keep him above the icy water.
Police were able to pull the boys, named Alex Neto and Lucas Snelling, out of the water and emergency medical services gave them the all-clear.
Neto, who clung onto Snelling after the latter had slipped, told Global News: "He's way heavier than me. So I tried to pick him up, but I can’t. So I keep holding him.
"I help him break… I start punching the ice. I’m still grabbing him with the one hand I’m bringing him up to the shallow end, cause I can’t pick him up.”
Neto added that the whole ordeal lasted "like 10 seconds" despite feeling like an hour.
Snelling said when the police showed up, "it was like a miracle."
The weather, as bad as it has been recently, likely also contributed to the boys' good fortune. At around 6 p.m. on Thursday night, the temperature was around -5 Celsius, according to timeanddate.com.
In comparison, just 24 hours previously, the conditions had been far more brutal and the air temperature was around -12 Celsius.
That's a significant difference, particularly when water is involved.
Hamilton police took the opportunity to remind the public to be aware of their surroundings, especially when near ice and frozen lakes.
"The ice in most locations is too thin to safely support the weight of a person," they advised in the release. "Fluctuating temperatures and weather conditions make the ice unpredictable."
Const. Ben Rushton of the Marine Service Unit added, per Global: "Hypothermia becomes an issue rather quickly and you lose your ability to have your gross motor skills. So it’s fortunate for (Snelling) his friend was there and you heard him say he wasn’t going to let him go.”
The city nearly suffered a tragic reminder this holiday season of how badly things can turn out.