February 22, 2022 by By Cathy Stack
The dramatic event unfolded near a housing complex in the south suburbs of Denver on January 9, 2022. Temperatures reached lows of 17.6F (-8C) that morning.
“I was looking out my window and saw a couple of kids walking on the ice pond. A few seconds later, I saw them fall in. Instinct was to go outside and help them,” Dusti said when describing the terrifying ordeal.
Dusti’s heart raced as she saw the children fall through the ice, and she immediately grabbed her shoes to run outside. Submerged in the frigid water, the children had lost the strength to stay above the surface. Their fingers were only visible as they desperately tried to grab onto the crumbling edges of the ice.
Without hesitation, Dusti placed her own life at risk by treading on the thin, unstable ice to try to reach the trio. As she reached her hands out to grab the children, she also broke the ice and fell into the 15-foot deep pond.
Dusti was first able to reach and pull out the 4-year-old girl and 11-year-old boy. She struggled to reach the last child, a 6-year-old girl. After hearing the loud screams for help, the young girl’s 16-year-old cousin suddenly arrived on scene. The teen threw Dusti a rope, which she used to hoist herself and the young girl out of the water.
All three children were pulled out of the icy water as first responders arrived on scene. The 6-year-old girl was not breathing and had no pulse after being submerged in the icy water for two minutes. First responders performed life-saving CPR. Once the girl was able to breathe on her own, the EMTs rushed her to the hospital.
“I have four boys. What [Dusti] did was amazing,” said Cory Sudden, a South Metro Fire Rescue first responder. He was visibly emotional while describing Dusti’s unbelievable bravery. “And, gosh, I hope if this happened to one of mine, somebody like her was close by.”
Dusti recalled that she was in shock from the water’s cold temperature, but knew she had to complete her mission of rescuing the children. Her concern for the children outweighed thoughts of her own safety.
Responders advised the public to avoid walking on icy ponds in cold weather. They explained that a variety of factors, including varying temperatures, can deteriorate ice rapidly, making icy ponds unstable and hazardous for anyone to walk on.
The 6-year-old girl, Zakiyah Williams, miraculously survived her traumatic ordeal. She has since been released from the hospital and reunited with her family. She and her grateful parents had a chance to meet their heroic neighbor in person, and they shared tears of joy and thankful hugs.
PassItOn and The Foundation of A Better Life believe that Dusti Talavera is a true hero. Dusti’s quick and courageous action demonstrates the value of bravery. The families of the children will be forever grateful for their guardian angel who came to their rescue in the nick of time. Also heroes are the South Metro Fire Rescue first responders who revived Zakiyah. This near-tragic story had a happy ending thanks to combined heroic efforts of Dusti and the first responders. Please help us celebrate Dusti by sharing her story.
Watch video here: https://youtu.be/6ZTtrOmqGAk
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