Accidents take you by surprise, and first responders can change the outcome from tragic remorse to terrific relief.
On January 9, in Arapahoe County, Denver, four children were playing on a frozen pond without the supervision of their parents, and worse yet, without any adults in sight. Little did they know such a situation was a perfect recipe for disaster.
Predictably, minutes later, three of the children, aged four, six, and 11, fell into the icy water and were instantly in perilous danger. Someone was watching over them, however, as all three children were rescued by a quick-thinking and brave woman who happened to see the incident.
It was like any other Sunday afternoon, and Dusti Talavera, 23, was in her kitchen, looking out the window at Addison at Cherry Creek apartments, 9100 East Florida Avenue.
“I saw a couple of kids walking on the ice pond. A few seconds later, I saw them fall in,” said Talavera during a press conference.
At that moment, most people in her shoes would have called for 911 or stood in shock, upon witnessing such an incident. But Talavera did something unselfish and courageous. She followed her instinct to go outside and help those kids by pulling them to safety.
She raced from her apartment to the pond without thinking of her own safety. “They were babies and they needed help.”
“Nobody was outside. I knew it was me that had to do it,” Talavera said of her heroic actions, later hailed as ‘amazing’ by the firefighters in Colorado.
Without wasting any time, Talavera immediately began pulling the children out. She pulled two of them to safety, but then she dropped into the 15 ft-deep pond herself, making her effort to save the third child a whole lot harder.
She struggled to keep the third child, 6-year-old Zakiyah Williams, afloat. “I tried to hold her head up. I tried to hold my head up.”
When all hope seemed to be fading fast, the 16-year-old cousin of the siblings, threw a rope to Talavera and Zakiyah to pull them out of the freezing water.
In the meantime, Zakiyah, the young girl, had been underwater for around two minutes. By the time they were all out of the freezing water, she was no longer breathing.
Fortunately, the Arapahoe County sheriff’s deputies and South Metro Fire Rescue swiftly arrived at the scene, ready to help. In dramatic body-cam footage of the incident, released by the Sheriff’s office, the rescuers can be seen desperately performing life-saving CPR on Zakiyah.
Thankfully, their efforts paid off, as the girl began to breathe and regained a pulse. They then transported her to a local children’s hospital, where Zakiyah Williams was listed as “stable” and released two days later.
Meanwhile, Talavera’s action did not go unnoticed or unappreciated. As per The Epoch Times, the South Metro Fire Rescue released a statement applauding everyone who had been instrumental in saving the three young lives. “Quick actions from a heroic bystander and CPR from sheriff’s deputies and our firefighters all came together in a critical moment to help rescue multiple children from a dangerous situation.”
Once Zakiyah got better, she met the woman who saved her, Talavera, who told her, “I am so glad you’re okay.”
Zakiyah’s mother, Tashaira couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who was involved in this rescue.
“They saved my baby and I just really want to thank them for saving her.” Her father, Walter, added, “It was like a puzzle. Every piece had to go together for it to work and the puzzle got put together so fast it saved my daughter’s life.”
Talavera’s selfless act, bravery, and quick thinking made a lasting impression on everyone.
“I have four boys, and what she did was amazing,” Corey Sutton of South Metro Fire Rescue told KUSA. “We were back at the fire station talking about how brave she was, how great the officers did. I hope that if this happened to one of mine, somebody like her was close by.”
It’s not every day you see someone risk their own lives to save someone else. A rescue like Talavera’s requires a certain level of courage and selflessness. Talavera certainly exhibits the best of both qualities, based on her impressive instinct that saved the lives of three children.