Princeton first responders attended a ceremony Wednesday to honor Brian Vanderlinde of Keremeos, and Gary Lind of Princeton. Photo Andrea DeMeer

B.C. man who pulled unconscious toddler from submerged car a modest hero

“It just looked like, in his eyes, he was dead.”

Brian Vanderlinde gives every impression of being uncomfortable with the word “hero.”

When asked a direct question he is liable to shrug and look away. His answers are short, and straightforward.

His wife leans in with a smile. “Brian is a very modest person.”

But modesty wasn’t the quality Vanderlinde drew on, when he jumped into a fast flowing creek and used an axe to smash the back window of an overturned and submerged car, crawled though the broken glass into the vehicle and wrestled an unconscious toddler to safety.

Vanderlinde, who lives in Keremeos, and Gary Lind of Princeton were honored Wednesday with the BC Ambulance Good Samaritan Award.

Vanderlinde was driving on Highway 5A near Princeton with his 12-year-old son, on October 17, 2017, when he came across the scene.

READ MORE: Axe-wielding Keremeos hero describes toddler’s rescue

“I was trying to figure out why there was a wet lady on the road,” he said.

The woman screamed: “My son! My son!”

Vanderlinde then saw the car, upside down in the water.

He recalls looking at his own child. “I said ‘sorry’ and then I handed him my phone and told him to call 911.”

Vanderlinde wasn’t able to open any of the vehicle’s doors. He tried without success to kick in the rear window.

When asked if the water was cold Vanderlinde said: “I didn’t really notice.”

When asked what he was thinking, he said: “I was just doing.”

As he was scrambling on the bank, looking for a rock to break the glass, a local truck driver, Gary Lind, arrived and threw an axe to Vanderlinde.

He broke the window and struggled to release the boy, who was suspended by his seat belt, underwater. Once he was freed Vanderlinde said: “It just looked like, in his eyes, he was dead.”

Lind took the three-year-old and began resuscitation efforts. A doctor who was also on the highway stopped and took over treatment, just before paramedics arrived.

Vanderlinde said he experienced great relief when bubbles started coning from the boy’s mouth “and then his eyes kind of came back…he was back.”

Paramedic Daniel Peacock, who nominated the two men for the Good Samaritan Award, said their “quick thinking and selfless actions…saved the life of a child.”

RCMP reported shortly after the incident that the child was underwater for approximately three minutes, but made a full recovery.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

LSS students ready to compete at district wide robotics competition

Students will showcase their engineering savvy with VEX robotics

Ladysmith hikes property taxes by 3.4 percent

Council approves 2019 budget that reflects the rising cost of materials and services

B.C. man’s failed bid to bar People’s Party name from byelection ends in $20k order

Federal judge shut down ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of party name in Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection

We need to change our fire behaviour

Most wildfires in BC during April and May were caused by humans.

Anticipation building for trip to D-Day anniversary for Chemainus students

Experience of being there promises to be a memorable one

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

Nevada court orders former Vancouver man to pay back $21.7M to investors

The commission says Michael Lathigee committed fraud over a decade ago

Young man on Vancouver Island dies after losing control of ATV

Crash claimed the life of a 23-year-old south of Nanaimo over the long weekend

Most Read