Mom: Boys pulled from icy lake doing OK

Posted at 5:42 PM, Jan 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-07 18:38:57-05

FAYETTEVILLE, Ohio -- Two boys were pulled from the icy waters of Lake Fichtelberg in the Lake Lorelei community Wednesday afternoon.

The children -- ages 8 and 11 -- fell through ice covering the lake at about 5:45 p.m., according to the Brown County Sheriff's Office.

Trish Stevens, the 11-year-old boy's mom, said the boys often play outside and ride bikes, but didn't know what they were thinking when they went around the water to play as they "have discussed water safety many times."

Pamela Neville was outside to empty a carpet shampooer when she heard screaming.

"I got thinking, there’s the lake, there’s ice -- danger," she said.

Neville called 911, while her husband and son tried to save the boys. The man used an extension cord and tied a life jacket to one end and attempted to throw the extension cord to the boys, deputies said. However, the cord was not long enough to reach them.

Neville's son, John, jumped onto a boat, using oars to break the ice. He guessed the boys were about 100 feet out on the water.

"One boy -- the younger boy -- he was screaming 'I don't want to die! Please don't let me die!' I said, 'Hang in there buddy, I won't let you drown. I won't let anything happen to you. Just hold on for a minute,'" John Neville said.

He got halfway to the boys before throwing out the cable to reel them in, he said.

"I jumped in the water and pulled them up on the shore right as the same time the paramedics were showing up," John Neville said.

Two medical helicopters were called to the scene and took the children to University of Cincinnati Medical Center; then, ambulances took them to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

"We were very scared when we got the call about the boys being air cared to the hospital," Stevens, the one boy's mother, said. "I cannot even express that horrible feeling and worst nightmare of my son being hurt."

They were treated for hypothermia and released, officials said. Thursday, Stevens said the boys were doing OK and resting.

"They both just really need their rest today and to process what has happened," Stevens said. "This incident really scared him and us."

Stevens also expressed thanks for all the thoughts and prayers for the boys, and thanked the Nevilles and first responders especially for saving them.

"I don't even want to think about what could have happened if they were not heard screaming for help," she said.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the boys fell into Lake Fichtelberg, rather than Lake Lorelei as originally reported.