5 Teens Form Human Chain to Rescue Young Siblings After Sledding Crash in N.J.

A pair of young siblings’ first time sledding was certainly one to remember after they were rescued by a group of local teenagers when their sled crashed through a frozen pond.

Olivia, 8, and RJ Heid, 4, were enjoying the first snow of the season in Middletown, New Jersey on Thursday when their parents decided to take them sledding after lunch at the nearby Beacon Hill Country Club, Patch.com reported.

Mom Stephanie Irlbeck said that their first trip down the hill went off without a hitch – but the second journey took a scary turn after their sled hit a patch of ice and spun backward, sending them crashing onto a nearby pond.

“They landed about seven feet into it [and] broke through the ice immediately. Because they were on one of the inflatable sleds, it kinda floated for a second,” she told NJ.com.

Irlbeck and her husband Rich Heid called for help, and luckily, five freshmen at Middletown High School North — Kiernan Foley, 14, Joseph Dietrich, 14, Drew Scalice, 14, Ryan Day, 15, and Tyler Armagan, 14 — answered the call.

The boys told Patch they were in the area to sled, too, but were checking to see if the pond had frozen over when Olivia and RJ came crashing through.

“I didn’t see anyone else be able to do anything, so I just jumped in,” said Foley, who performed the rescue barefoot after losing one of his snow boots in the mud. “I was like, whatever. It wasn’t deep so I could walk right over to them. I picked them up and my friends formed a chain and we got the boy first, and handed him to my friends. Then I got the girl.”

Once back on land, RJ began to cry, so Day comforted the child by asking what he’d asked for for Christmas. Day said that he caddies at the country club, and knew that while the pond was only about 3-5 deep, it was still enough water to go over the head of RJ, who cannot swim.

“We really thought, or hoped, anyone would do the same for us, or anyone,” Scalice, who is one of two Boy Scouts in the group, told NJ.com. “I mean, we were kinda brought up that way, to help if someone needs help.”

After the rescue, Irlbeck said her husband gave Foley his pants and boots, since his were soaked, but that the boys would not accept money, or their offer for a ride home.

“They were insanely humble. They didn’t want anything, they just wanted to make sure my kids were OK,” she told Patch. “They kept saying to my kids, ‘You’re safe now. You’re going to get a hot chocolate and a warm bath at home.’”

The outlet reported that the boys’ high school will honor them with a virtual ceremony on Tuesday, while the town will follow suit with a ceremony of its own in the next few weeks.

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