On Thursday, Jul. 27 Sgt. Steven Woodcox, detachment commander of the Kimberley RCMP, presented certificates of appreciation to Cranbrook’s Jason Sherratt and Kimberley’s Chris Pearson for saving the life of a three-year-old girl who nearly drowned in Wasa Lake on July 25.
“The reason that we presented some awards to these gentlemen today is the fact that they got involved and stepped up and took action. This is the reason this little girl is alive today so I just wanted to recognize the brave efforts of these gentlemen,” Woodcox said.
“The family of the little girl couldn’t be happier for the action these two gentlemen took.”
After receiving the certificates outside the Kimberley RCMP station they shared their story of what happened that day with the Bulletin.
Sherratt and his son Nixen, and Pearson with his two boys Cole and Cooper were out at Wasa Lake for a boys day. They were all playing football on the beach and then Pearson offered to take Cooper out on his aluminum boat, but as soon as they got out, it died, so they had to row it back to shore.
“We were just kind of tinkering with it, the boys kind of took off and went and played with other kids on the beach,” Sherratt said. “Then Coop and Nix just came barreling down the beach towards us and started screaming that there was a little girl drowning. At first we thought they were just pulling our leg, like no she looks fine, because we could see a little girl standing by the water screaming, then they pointed out into the water and they were like, ‘no, look.’”
Sherratt said they lookd out and all they could just see a little bathing suit rolling in the waves, and they realized the boys were telling the truth. They then saw the girl’s dad running down the beach towards them.
“Chris actually yelled at me and said, ‘I think that guy’s going to be gassed when he gets there buddy, we gotta go in too.’ We just ditched and ran into the water too and it was good thing we did, because he was gassed when he got there, and he was going down trying to hold her.”
Pearson picked her up and the two of them were passing her back and forth as they were swimming back to shore. Once Sherratt could get his feet on the ground he took her, held her up and put her in the choked position for infants, laying her on her side and smacking her on the back to try and get water out of her lungs as he was coming out of the water.
“As we got to the beach we put her down on the sand and it was crazy, she was blue. It was super scary,” Sherratt said.
“I just started CPR right away. Chris ran down the beach yelling for anybody who had a cell phone to call 911, he was rounding up, getting all the kids away from the girl, because he saw what I saw, it was not good. She didn’t look alive at all.”
Nixen, Cole and Cooper said they were scared in the moment, but feel proud of themselves and their dads for what they did, with Pearson saying, “They knew exactly what to do.”
“Probably three to five minutes after the CPR she started to turn pink, started to wheeze and it just got progressively better and better and she started breathing,” Sherratt said. “We wrapped her in a blanket, put her in the recovery position and waited for the ambulance.”
The little girl was taken to East Kootenay Regional Hospital before being transferred to a larger medical facility in Vancouver, where she has been doing well. Sherratt and Cooper said they’ve been getting regular updates from her father.
Sherratt and Cooper, who are both first aid certified, said this experience highlighted just how very important having it really is.
“I’ll be the first to tell you because I’ve had to do first aid my whole life, you have to keep an updated ticket,” Sheratt said. “As a trades guy you kinda just look at it as b.s. to be honest, but after that day, man, I’ll be the first to tell you there’s way more people that need first aid.
“Get trained, more people need to get trained for sure. It should be free, it should at least be cheap, because as you can tell it’s very important. I never thought I’d ever use it to be honest.”