Joy Pringle (in green) and Hannah Reinholt (in red) visted Foley Lake in Chilliwack to reconnect with nature and have a good time camping. They ended the trip helping to prevent an already-tragic situation from becoming far worse. (Submitted photo)

Good Samaritans help three people survive tragic ATV accident at Chilliwack-area lake

Two young children died, but if not for Joy Pringle and Hannah Reinholt, it could have been worse.

“Foley Lake in the Chilliwack River Valley where a side-by-side vehicle carrying five people went into the water on May 3, 2020 killing two children. (GoogleMaps)

Two Good Samaritans are credited with helping to save three people at Foley Lake in Chilliwack Sunday afternoon.

While RCMP confirm two children, aged nine and 10, died in a tragic off-road vehicle accident, two adults and a third child survived, thanks in part to the quick thinking and calm actions of Joy Pringle and her friend Hannah Reinholt.

The women live in Squamish and came to Foley Lake to unwind, reconnect with nature and remember Joy’s sister Bekah, who died in a car accident in December of 2018 and whose birthday is this week.

Joy and Hannah had finished camping and were packing up to leave when a kid on a dirt bike rode up asking for help.

“He said there was an accident with a side-by-side (SxS ATV-style vehicle) that was in the water,” Joy said. “With limited information we ran 10 minutes up a hill, and as we arrived we saw that the side-by-side fell down a 100 foot embankment into the lake.”

Joy said she scrambled down the embankment and realized two kids were strapped in the submerged vehicle by seat belts.

READ MORE: Two children killed in ATV accident in Chilliwack River Valley

READ MORE: Two taken to hospital after midnight boat crash on Harrison Lake

“I grabbed a nearby belly boat, jumped on and swam to where I could see bubbles coming out,” she recalled. “I dove down and tried my best to find them. I had no light and it was dark and cold and all I could feel was the tires. It was too deep and really cold, and I realized I couldn’t rescue them.

“I realized I would be putting my life at further risk, and I’d be unable to hold my breath long enough to pull them out even if I did find them.”

An RCMP news release Sunday said the vehicle was 15 feet deep. Joy said the frigid water took her breath away, and her lungs were burning as she finally came up for air.

Three other people who were in the side-by-side were sitting on the embankment and they were in bad shape. Joy described them as “pretty pale/bluish” and she administered first aid. They huddled together, trying to stay warm, and as they did that Hannah scrambled up and down the steep embankment several times bringing towels, blankets, dry clothes and hand warmers.

“She was an angel,” Joy said. “She literally ran over giving the clothes off her back.”

The two women sent for help immediately, but it takes at least an hour to get back into an area where there is cellular phone service, and Joy said it was a three or four hour wait until emergency crews responded. When police, fire and search and rescue arrived, Joy helped set up tarps and stayed with the two adults, who were injured and needed to be taken by boat to a waiting helicopter.

”There were two fisherman that arrived first and were quick thinking as well,” Joy added. “They gave me jackets too, when I was shivering. We all worked together. Everyone took care of each other.”

The third child was able to make it up the embankment with help from Joy and one of the fishermen, and Hannah placed him in a Jeep that was running with the heat on. The child’s uncle and cousins were there to comfort him, and Hannah kept checking in on him while Joy went back down the embankment to comfort the parents.

“The mom didn’t want to leave her kids alone in the water and I promised her that I would stay with her two children until they were recovered by the police dive team/SAR,” Joy said. “I’m proud that I could give the family peace of mind that the kids were never alone.

“I’m sad that I couldn’t do more, but we did everything that we could.”

Joys’ efforts were noticed. An emergency responder who wished to remain anonymous had this to say.

“When we arrived we found the parents beside the lake being attended to by a lady from Squamish who had already begun preliminary first aid for them. She got them as warm and comfortable as possible under the circumstances and she attempted to try to reach the submerged children.

“This young lady did a tremendous job yesterday and she deserves some acknowledgement for her cool headedness and assistance in a very difficult situation.”


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

chilliwackSearch and Rescue

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NIC and other schools will provide information on program pathways, partnership agreements and tips for transfer students. File photo
Vancouver Island colleges, universities host virtual tours

The tour includes representatives from North Island College

Crew members with the Western Canadian Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) deploy a containment boom from one of their workboats during a fuel spill drill in Alberni Harbour on Oct. 15, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni WCMRC team learns the spill drill

Spill response members simulates fuel spill for practice in Alberni Harbour

Smokey Port painted by D.F. Gray during the eighth annual Paint Out. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Port Alberni’s DRAW Gallery celebrates art online and in person

Fall in Love With Art! exhibit runs until Nov. 27

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of possibly decades-old airplane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of UBC geoscientists discovered the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

Most Read