A Colorado woman is being praised as a hero for saving three children who had fallen into a frozen pond.
Dusti Talavera, 23, was inside her apartment in Denver on Sunday afternoon watching children, ages 4, 6 and 11, play outside in a frozen pond. Seconds later, she looked again and saw the children fall in. Next thing she knew, she was out on the pond.
“Instinct was to go outside,” Talavera said at a Monday news conference. “Before I even realized it, I was out there on the middle of the pond.”
Talavera was able to pull two of the children, an 11-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl, out of the pond, but as she attempted to grab the third, a 6-year-old girl, the ice Talavera was on gave way. She found herself also in the 15-foot-deep pond.
Talavera was unable to get herself out, so she tried to keep the head of the girl, who was unconscious, above water.
Luckily, the young girl’s teenage cousin came out and threw Talavera a rope. Talavera said she was able to get pulled out of the water and then pull the last child out of the frozen pond.
The next few moments were “chaotic,” Talavera said, as the young girl was still unconscious and people attempted to get help.
Soon after, deputies from the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene. Deputies were worried about the girl suffering from hypothermia, so they took off her winter coat and began performing CPR. Just as the South Metro Fire Rescue team arrived, the girl began to breathe and she was taken to a hospital.
The two other children did not require medical attention and the 6-year-old girl, who remained in intensive care late Monday, was “expected to survive,” authorities said.
“Putting her life at risk for the kids to make sure that they could make it another day is amazing,” said Sheriff Deputy Blaine Moulton said.
The deputy added the incident is an example on how the weather can drastically fluctuate from cold to warm in the Denver area, meaning ice may not be thick. Over the weekend, temperatures ranged from the low-20s to the high-50s.
“It looks like it’s a playful environment that you could play hockey on, but it’s truly not,” Moulton said. “It’s definitely one of our biggest target hazards.”
Still, the officers and fire rescue team praised Talavera for her actions. Firefighter Corey Sutton said when people fall into frozen water, it’s hard to breathe or move. He was brought to tears speaking about Talavera’s heroic effort.
“What she did was amazing. We were back at the fire station talking about how brave she was,” he said. “Gosh, I hope if this happened to one of (my sons), that somebody like her was close by.”
Talavera also praised the teenage boy that gave her the rope, saying she didn’t know how long she would’ve been able to last in the pond. She said she knew this could have happened to anybody’s children, all she could think about during the incident was to “save the kids”
“I was just worried about them, I didn’t really think about it,” she said, “I just knew it was me that had to do it.”
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.