- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

LAKE ST. LOUIS, Mo. (AP) - A 14-year-old boy is in critical condition after he and a friend fell through ice on a suburban St. Louis lake.

The cold temperatures earlier this month caused solid ice to form at Lake Sainte Louise, the smaller of the two lakes in the St. Charles County town of Lake St. Louis. But temperatures warmed into the 50s in recent days, and the ice became thin.

Two 14-year-olds fell through the ice just before noon Monday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1ylrAKb ) reported. Their names have not been released.

Police officer Rick Frauenfelder said the boys were yelling and scared when he got to the lake. A worker at the lake association office had just warned them to get off the thinning ice and witnessed the fall, Frauenfelder said.

The boys were about 40 yards away from the closest dock. One was bobbing in and out of the water; the other was trying desperately to hold on to the ice shelf.

“He was trying to pull himself out of the water, but he was getting weaker and weaker; the water was really getting to him,” Frauenfelder said.

Frauenfelder and Officer Ryan Hall grabbed a couple of ropes and life jackets. Moments later, Lake Saint Louis and Wentzville firefighters, wearing special ice rescue suits, arrived to help. They were able to quickly pull the boy who was still above water to shore.

“He was confused and disoriented from the cold,” Frauenfelder said.

It took another five minutes to find the other boy, who was at the bottom of the lake, Lake St. Louis Fire Capt. Justin Darnell said.

By then, the boy had been under water 15 minutes. When pulled to the shore, he wasn’t breathing and had no pulse, so rescuers started CPR and used a defibrillator to resuscitate him. He was airlifted to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center.

Frauenfelder said initial reports about the prognosis of the boy, who was still in critical condition on Tuesday, were good. The other boy who fell in was treated for hypothermia, as was a friend to who tried to rescue them.

Darnell said firefighters had just conducted ice-rescue training last week.

“We’re all dads, so it hits close to home,” he said. “Unfortunately, kids sometimes make wrong decisions.”


Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

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