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5 teen boys race to save children after seeing their sled plunge into icy pond
The quick-thinking teens created a 'human chain' to try and rescue the kids from the freezing pond.
Elijah Chan
11.16.21

When a sledding trip turned awry, five teenage boys were celebrated as heroes.

Stephanie Irlbeck and her family went to Beacon Hill Country Club in the Atlantic Highlands for some winter “rest and relaxation”. Her two kids, Olivia and RJ never tried sledding before so they thought this was the perfect time to give it a go.

YouTube Screenshot - Good Morning America
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Good Morning America

They brought with them some saucer slides and an inflatable bed.

The two kids went sledding away from the main hill.

The area was fairly crowded and was a bit steep. As first-time sledders, they opted for a side with a less incline. There was a pond on the right of the hill but the family thought it was safe. It was a bit far off and in a further angle on where the kids would land.

YouTube Screenshot - Good Morning America
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Good Morning America

But when the siblings tried sliding down the hill, disaster struck.

They landed near a tree on a sheet of ice then spun backward. The motion propelled them into the pond. What they thought was a safe spot became a nightmare when it was revealed that it was only partially frozen.

YouTube Screenshot - Good Morning America
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Good Morning America

“They landed about seven feet into it and broke through the ice immediately. Because they were on one of the inflatable sleds, it kind of floated for a second,” Irlbeck told NJ.com. But then, it took on water.

Not far off, five teens heard the commotion.

Keirnan Foley, one of the teens, shared that he heard a dad screaming “Hop off! Hop off!” When they investigated where it was coming from, they saw the speeding sled with two kids on it.

When he saw how the sled slowly sunk, Foley jumped into the water.

Foley reached the children first. Then, his friends Tyler Armagan, Ryan Day, Joey Dietrich, and Drew Scalice made a human chain where Foley could pass the kids to the shore.

YouTube Screenshot - Good Morning America
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Good Morning America

The pond was shallow but for smaller kids like RJ the water could easily go over their heads. The freezing temperatures also posed a danger especially when they pulled them out soaking wet.

The boys helped the kids calm down.

They asked them questions about Christmas so they could take their minds off what had just happened. Together, they walked up the hill and back to their parents.

YouTube Screenshot - Good Morning America
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Good Morning America

The parents were grateful beyond words.

“You know, they didn’t want anything in return. They just said, over and over, ‘We just want to make sure your kids are okay, that’s the only thing that we care about,’” Irlbeck said, adding they wouldn’t even accept a ride home.

Pexels - Pits Ricardo
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Pexels - Pits Ricardo

Foley lost a boot during the rescue. So when Irlbeck’s husband offered his, the couple was relieved that he accepted the pair. It was the least they could do to repay their kindness.

Pexels - Jan Zakelj
Source:
Pexels - Jan Zakelj

When the family returned home, Irlbeck posted a message on Facebook, thanking the boys and their parents. By no surprise, they are being hailed as heroes.

Foley insisted it was a group effort.

“Everybody played a part in rescuing these children,” he said to NJ.com. “It was a big team effort and I’m grateful they got out of the water in time and nothing bad happened or anything, because it could have been much worse.”

YouTube Screenshot - Good Morning America
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Good Morning America

And we hope the kids outgrow these events and remember instead the kindness they experienced.

Watch the video below to see GMA’s interview with the heroes!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Elijah Chan
hi@sbly.com
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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