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Eight-year-old's ice safety savvy helps save friend

Union Leader Correspondent

March 02. 2012 11:19PM

PEMBROKE - The quick thinking and outdoors safety awareness of an 8-year-old boy is likely the reason his 7-year-old friend survived a scary fall through thin ice on a retention pond.

Jackie Winden, the mother of Owen Winden, 7, said her family lives right next to a golf course and a retention pond used to water the greens is about 100 yards from their back porch. Although she said she has always warned her children to never play around the pond, last Saturday Owen ventured out onto the ice, causing it to crack, and he fell through.

Owen and his friend Colin Campbell, 8, had been playing in the yard before they wandered over to the golf course. Colin's mother, Greta Campbell, said Colin is familiar with ice safety procedures because of his frequent ice fishing trips with his grandfather. After Owen fell into the frigid water, Colin knew it was best to run back to Owen's house to get help from an adult rather than try to rescue his friend on his own.

'His grandfather has always told him to call 911 or get help immediately,' Campbell said.

Because of Colin's quick thinking and the close proximity of the pond to the Windens' house, Owen was in the water for only a few minutes. After Owen was eventually pulled from the pond, however, he was completely blue and his body temperature had fallen to about 91 degrees, Jackie Winden said.

Had Owen been in the water for any longer, Winden said the consequences could have been far more severe.

'He was completely blue and in an extreme amount of pain because oxygen was not going to his extremities,' Winden said. 'The police had already made it by that time and my daughter stayed behind and called 911. We are very fortunate everything went as well as it did.'

Owen has made a full recovery, but both boys are still slightly shaken from the incident. Their parents say things are getting back to normal and Winden said that she hopes this will be a learning experience for both boys and that other families can learn about how to react when faced with a similar situation.

She said it's not always possible to prevent kids from putting themselves in dangerous situations, but providing them with the knowledge of how to properly handle those situations could be lifesaving.

'It's good to teach them how to be proactive,' she said. 'Kids will be kids and the statistics are staggering for these sorts of injuries. I didn't realize that until we were faced with one.'

Campbell said Colin was incredibly worried about his friend throughout the ordeal and is feeling better now that he knows Owen made it through OK.

She said her family moved to Pembroke in November and since then the two boys have been very close. She is pleased that they were there for each other during a scary and dangerous moment.

'(Colin) was upset when it happened and as soon as he knew it was OK he felt much better,' Campbell said. 'It's a heartwarming story that nothing awful happened.'

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