Editor's Note: According to reports this morning, two of the children -- 5-year-old Zenavia Rennie and 7-year-old Alarious Coleman-Guerrido -- have died. The other three remain in critical condition.
Five children are being treated for serious injuries after being pulled from a car that plunged into an icy lake in Minnesota this morning. The kids were non-responsive by the time rescuers got to them, having been submerged in the near-freezing water for half an hour or more.
The driver, 23-year-old Marion Guerrido was able to escape when the Pontiac Grand Am hit the water, but she was unable to get the children out. A man who lives in a nearby apartment complex said, “I ran out to the balcony the second I heard the woman screaming. Even in the darkness, I could see a woman standing in water up to her knees. Looking back, everything about her screams told you she was the mother of a child in trouble.”
Guerrido is the mother of three of the kids, sons Alarious Coleman-Guerrido, 7, and Amani Coleman-Guerrido, 5, and daughter Aliyana Rennie, 1. The other two, Zarihana Rennie, 6, and Zenavia Rennie, 5, are her boyfriend Julius Rennie’s daughters. Rennie is also the father of little Aliyana.
The water in the St. Louis Park pond is eight or nine feet deep, and the car had to be partially towed before the children could be rescued. Authorities are unsure why the car went off the road -- there’s no guardrail, but the roads were ice-free and traffic conditions were relatively light. There was no detection of alcohol.
Dr. Aaron Burnett, an assistant medical director for St. Paul’s Regions Hospital said that physicians are generally “optimistic” when it comes to cold-water near-drownings.
“When you are in cold water, it slows the metabolic rate of your cells,” he said. “It’s good in drowning cases. When you slow the metabolic rate down, your cells need less oxygen and they produce fewer waste products. There is a better overall survival rate.”
He said that children usually do better than adults in such crises, and that it’s not unheard of for children to have survived being submerged in icy water from 45 to 60 minutes with little or no brain damage. He added, “Those are still unusual cases.”
Here’s to hoping that this will end up being another one of those “unusual cases.” Or five more, I should say.
Have you heard of children that have survived almost being drowned in cold water?
Image via evilfoo/Flickr