Boy, 3, unharmed after floating 12 kms downstream
Darcy Wintonyk, ctvbc.ca
Published Tuesday, July 14, 2009 7:52AM PDT
A three-year-old boy is lucky to be alive after taking a wild ride down B.C.'s Peace River in a battery-powered toy truck.
Demetrius Jones had floated downstream for 12 kilometres before being rescued Sunday morning.
The boy was not wearing a lifejacket, just a diaper and T-shirt at the time.
He went missing from his family's campsite in the Peace Island Park just after 7 a.m. Sunday.
Campers joined Fort St. John RCMP in a full-scale search of the park to find him.
Don Loewen spotted the boy more than two hours after he went missing while searching the river with four other men in his boat.
"We just kept going down the river watching all the log jams and keeping our eyes out for any sign of the car or the boy," Loewen told CTV British Columbia.
"We spotted something sitting on the east banks that looked like some rocks or an eagle or something."
What the men believed were rocks were actually the black tires of the overturned toy truck sticking out from the water.
"And what we thought was an eagle or something was the little boy's blond head sticking up there," he said.
Jones was kneeling on all fours on top of the car, sitting in about three metres of water, according to Fort St. John RCMP.
"He was wet from his knees down, and his hands were wet, but this torso was okay," Loewen said.
A cautious approach
The men approached the boy slowly, as not to tip the small toy truck over with the wake of the boat.
"I shut off the boat and I jumped into the water and swam over to him and the boys idled up to him with the boat and we pulled him in," Loewen said.
"We started wrapping him in our floating coats and started rubbing him and rubbing him until he got warm."
The group called his parents on the way back to the campsite.
Fort St. John RCMP Const. Jackelynn Passarell says the boy was treated in hospital in Fort St. John for mild exposure, but handled the incident remarkably well.
"That couldn't have happened twice in a million so I'm thinking he's one heck of a lucky guy," Loewen said.
The youngster was reportedly back on his toy truck by the end of the day.