Teens Link Together & Create Human Chain To Rescue Two Kids Who Fell Into Frozen Pond

Nov 22, 2022 by apost team

Every now and then, a story of a rescue mission comes along that proves that humanity has so much kindness. Although the day started well for the Rich Heid household, it would have ended tragically were it not for five freshmen from Middletown High School North in New Jersey. The five teenagers acted quickly to save 8-year-old Olivia Heid and her 4-year-old brother, RJ, who were sledding backward and superfast toward a partially frozen pond at the Beacon Hill Country Club on Dec. 26, 2020.

The day started off normally with the kids of the Heid household playing with snow in their backyard. The parents even took a few shots of the kids fully geared up in their winter outfits. That afternoon the children's mother, Stephanie Irlbeck, who has lived in Middletown her entire life, decided to take the kids for their first sledding experience.

They opted for their huge inflatable sled, which unbeknown to them, would help save their kids' lives. According to Patch, Stephanie's first choice was Holmdel Sled Park, which was unfortunately closed on that day. So, she went ahead to ask for recommendations of alternative sledding spots on Facebook. Beacon Hill Country Club stood out to her, and off they embarked on a sledding adventure like none other. The main spot on Beacon Hill was a little crowded, and it took them a while to find another suitable spot. When they found the spot, they noticed a pond at a distance, but they were not sure if it had actually frozen over.

Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video :-) 

Then, catastrophe struck.

The two kids were packed onto the inflatable sled with RJ sitting on Olivia's lap. They enjoyed a successful first run down the hill. When they climbed back up, they resumed their positions before their dad gave them a push down the slope. Soon, the sled hit a patch of ice, and it lost direction, heading straight for the barely frozen pond. Kieran Foley, 14, Ryan Day, 15, Drew Scalice, 14, Joseph Dietrich, 14, and Tyler Armagan, 14, were standing by the pond. They were busy throwing rocks to determine whether the pond was actually frozen when they were alarmed by screaming coming from the top of the hill.

Foley said:

"We heard this dad yelling, 'Hop off, hop off!' We turned around and see these kids coming down the hill. They were going backward."

Foley's friend Dietrich added, "They were going fast, really fast." Although the sled slowed down as it approached the bottom, it hit another patch of ice, which propelled it right into the partially frozen pond. The children's mother watched helplessly from the top of the hill as the events unfolded, and she recalled watching how the blow-up tube hit and cracked through the ice. Mom Stephanie said: 

"It kind of floated for a little bit, then began to slowly sink."

Her children were red with fear then, and there was only so much she could do.

In that very moment, Foley observed that nobody else would do anything, so without a second thought, he jumped into the pond. 


Foley And His Friends Saved The Day

For Illustration Purposes Only - istockphotos.com/FotoDuets

He explained, "I was like, whatever. It wasn't deep, so I could walk right over to them. I picked them up, and my friends formed a human chain and we got the boy first and handed him to my friends. Then I got the girl."

The teenage boys did not leave anything to chance once their friend jumped into the pond. They rushed to help him pull out the kids, forming a human chain to ensure the kids were warm and well protected as they passed them on to their mother.

The toddler was in shock from the incident. He and his sister were in misery due to their soaking wet clothes and bodies. Teamwork made this a successful mission as each of the boys played a significant role in ensuring the children were OK and did not get hypothermia. One of the teenagers, Ryan Day said, "I hate seeing children have to cry and suffer like that," which explained his impulse to try to cheer little RJ up by asking him what presents he would love from Santa once he was out of the pond. Although the pond was only about 3 to 5 feet deep, it was too cold, thus endangering the lives of the children through a risk of hypothermia. The teenagers helped stop a near-tragic accident.

"I couldn't get down the hill fast enough," mother Stephanie explained to CBS New York. "There were other families at the top of the hill, and we were all screaming. What was amazing to me was to see the boys immediately know how to form a human chain. I don't know how they knew to do that. The whole thing is incredible," she added.

Foley told the Kids Who Kare team that although most of it was impulsive, they learned part of it from the Middletown Boy Scout Troop, of which he and Scalice are members.

The teens performed a selfless act, indeed. The successful rescue mission, however, was not without losses. According to Patch, Kieran lost his snow boots in the pond, Armagan's phone fell into the pond, and a pair of headphones was also lost. Foley came out of the pond with his clothes soaking wet. Even more heart-warming, the boys would not accept anything from the parents of the children they had just rescued. Irlbeck told Fox News:

"Not only did they stop a potentially catastrophic situation they didn't even want anything in return."

"We offered them money; they wouldn't take it. My husband took off his pants and gave Kieran his pants and his boots; thankfully, he took those," Irlbeck also revealed to Patch. "They were insanely humble. They didn't want anything, they just wanted to make sure my kids were OK. They kept saying to my kids, 'You're safe now. You're going to get a hot chocolate and a warm bath at home.'"

The boys even turned down a ride home because one of their moms was to pick them up in half an hour. To them, this was not a big deal, they were simply at the right place at the right time.

Still, the five teenage boys continued to amaze people even after their brave and selfless rescue mission had been completed.

The Boys Continued To Be Humble Afterward

Irlbeck said they had to rush the children home as they did not want them to get hypothermia. "I didn't cry; I was just shaking. I felt like I was going to throw up the entire ride home," she continued. The mom of two children went on to hail the boys as heroes in a post she wrote on a private Facebook group consisting of Middletown, New Jersey, residents. She also did this in an attempt to find the teenagers' parents and thank them personally.

Irlbeck was impressed that "in this day and age when kids don't really care and all they do is take their phones out and videotape when something happens, these kids did not even hesitate." She also wanted to tell the boys' parents, "You are raising AMAZING BOYS."

After seeing the story on Facebook, the Kids Who Kare team went out to find and interview these courageous teenagers. They confidently and humbly described the events of the day insisting that it was really not a big deal and they didn't have to think much into it. Scalice said, "We went home joking about it saying what if this gets on the news or something," and surprisingly the next day, they started getting emails, calls, and texts.

Day said:

"Kieran, I give him all the credits, he jumped right in there without any hesitation. And all of us were a great team. We all tagged along and saved those kids."

It was the boys' good intentions and the fact that they did not want anything bad to happen that made them heroes at the end of the day.

It's Clear That Good Deeds Go A Long Way

Just as Irlbeck said in her post, the boys tried to calm her horrified children in all possible ways. Although Olivia and RJ's mom was unable to make it for the interview, she sent her regards and insisted that she couldn't express her gratitude to the boys enough because what they did was a huge deal. On mom Stephanie's behalf, Charlie of the Kids Who Kare community handed a couple of bucks to each of the boys as a token of appreciation for showing that they really cared. The boys were excited and appreciated the gift heartily. One even exclaimed, "Oh my God! I really appreciate it," as he took the monetary token of appreciation.

The five boys put everything behind them, including their safety, to save the lives of the two young kids. And although it was nothing to them, it was everything to those children, their parents, and the community at large. Scalice said that what they did was what anyone in a similar situation would have done. While such events are not rare, many of them end tragically with the children losing their lives. However, thanks to these five heroic boys, this story has a happy ending.

This story also serves as an important reminder that frozen ponds can be dangerous. According to the Almanac, people should stay off ice that is less than four inches thick. People should also avoid ice that has cracks or ice near inlets or moving water. “Always be safe and don’t put yourself or others at risk,” the Almanac stated.

We're so happy that the two children made it out of the sledding accident safe and sound. What did you think about this story? Let us know, and be sure to pass it along to your loved ones.

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