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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The track washrooms will be opened up again next year in May. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Toilets, sinks torn off, graffiti on walls at the Burns Lake track washroom

“Seems to happen once or twice a year” says the Village CAO on the vandalized track washroom

FILE - Nathan Cullen speaks to media in Smithers, B.C., Friday, February 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, Cullen apologize for Stikine candidate’s comments about Haida candidate

Nathan Cullen had made insensitive comments about Roy Jones Jr. Cheexial

The pile burning will occur to the south of François Lake. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
Pile burning and rehab work on three areas south of François Lake

Smoke might be visible for Burns Lake and neighboring areas

Participants earlier this year in March for Lakes Loppet at the ski club. (Lakes District News file photo)
How is Omineca Ski Club prepping for this ski season?

Covid restrictions, social distancing but ski season to continue

FOR WEB ONLY. (Lakes District News file photo)
Question Bill C-7, says this reader

Editor: Have you ever felt strongly convicted about something one day and… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Jordan Naterer, an electrical engineer from Vancouver, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. (Facebook photo)
Search efforts to resume for missing Manning Park hiker; Trudeau speaks on case

PM says he’ll do what he can to ‘nudge’ efforts to find Jordan Naterer, yet has little leverage locally

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

École de L’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
B.C. records first COVID-19 outbreak at school, six weeks after students return to class

Three cases of the virus have been identified at École de L’Anse-au-sable

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau is seen as she leaves media event during a campaign stop in West Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green leader hopes voters see value in minority government

The Greens received nearly 17 per cent of the popular vote in 2017 yet received just three seats

Local candidates Pam Alexis, Abbotsford-Mission, and Preet Rai, Abbotsford-West, look on as NDP Leader John Horgan main streets in Abbotsford, B.C., Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. NDP takes snap election risk during pandemic in quest for majority government

Green Leader Sonia Furstenau said the election was unnecessary and irresponsible during the pandemic

Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, B.C., on October 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. Liberal Leader maintains confidence as campaign tests party identity

Liberal campaign has been disrupted by controversy

Most Read