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Amazing Video Captures the Heroic Rescue of a Child from an Icy Pond in Vermont

An 8-year-old girl is alive thanks to the heroic efforts of Vermont State Troopers. The incident happened on the morning of December 17, 2023. Vermont officials say body cameras captured the entire rescue in an icy pond and have just now released the video.

According to the official press release from Vermont State Police, two girls were playing on the surface of a pond in the town of Cambridge, northeast of Burlington. The ice broke, and both children fell into the water. An 80-year-old homeowner could reach a younger girl and pull her from the pond, but the 8-year-old was further away, near the center of a deep pond.

Fortunately, Trooper Michelle Archer was patrolling the area and arrived less than five minutes after the call. Once on scene, Archer grabs a throw rope and a flotation device and enters the pond.

In the video, you can see Archer diving under the water, where the girl appears to be almost floating under ice. Archer grabs the girl and swims back to shore, where fellow Trooper Keith Cote takes the girl to an ambulance.

Amazingly, the girl is immediately responsive. Vermont State Police say she has since made a full recovery. Troopers Archer and Cote and the homeowner have been recommended to receive the Vermont State Police’s Lifesaving Award.

Safely Crossing Ice

The scene is obviously terrifying, but it happens every winter. Fortunately, this time, rescue was nearby. Knowing how to cross ice safely and handle falling through is the difference between life and death. 

Crossing a frozen pond
(Source: Markos Mant)

While it’s best to avoid crossing a frozen body of water altogether, sometimes it’s necessary. Before stepping foot on the ice, it’s essential to test it. Lead with a stick or trekking pole and test the ice. Take small steps. If the ice starts to crack, try to lie down to spread out your weight and head back in the direction you came from.

If you fall through the ice, remain calm (though that may sound difficult). Then, follow these steps from Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources.

  1. Don’t remove your winter clothing in the water. Often, heavy clothes can trap air, which helps you float.
  2. Try to head back in the direction you came from, as the ice should be stronger in that direction.
  3. Place your hands and arms on the unbroken ice and kick your feet to get yourself back on the ice and out of the water.
  4. Lie flat on the ice once you’re out to avoid breaking through again.
  5. Immediately get to a warm place once you’re away from the ice.
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