National News Desk

Parents hail teens for heroic icy pond rescue of their two children

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Rich Heid

By MILES COHEN, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — What started as a fun family day in the snow quickly turned into a nightmare when two young children fell into a freezing pond in need of an urgent, icy rescue.

Rich Heid told ABC News his two children R.J., 4, and Olivia, 8, went flying down a hill on an inflatable sled at Beacon Hill Country Club in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey when they slid over a patch of ice into a frozen pond.

“I started screaming, ‘Jump off, jump off, jump off,'” he recalled.

The scene was reminiscent of the scene in the Christmas classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, when George and his friends save his younger brother, Harry, from drowning in freezing cold water.

“You could see fear in their eyes,” the children’s mother, Stephanie Irlbeck, told ABC News. “Looking at him screaming ‘Jump off, jump off.’ I was screaming, ‘Someone get them!'”

Luckily, a nearby group of teenage boys heard the cries for help and raced over to save the kids.

“All of a sudden we heard the dad shouting, ‘Get off, get off,'” Kieran Foley said.

The 14-year-old Boy Scout led the way and dove into the water as his friends formed a chain to help pull the two kids to safety.

“When Kieran was running toward them, the mud was so thick it sucked his boots off,” Irlbeck said, adding that he went into the water with his phone still in his pocket.

“Tyler helped with Olivia getting her out. she was a bit more heavier,” Foley said.

“I took R.J., brought them back to shore to the mother’s hands, and then we actually just start comforting them,” Ryan Day told ABC News.

“We were shaking — R.J. was freezing,” Olivia Heid told ABC News.

“Life is much more valuable than a phone. So I say its a good choice to just get in there and get them out,” Foley explained. “These are all materialistic items. Now, we had life. Life’s at stake.”

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