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Lifestyle & Human Interest

'It Had To Be Me': Woman Recounts Stunning Rescue From Frozen Pond

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On Sunday, Dusti Talavera of Arapahoe County, Colorado, looked out the window of her apartment and saw several kids on the ice of a nearby pond.

The siblings were out together playing, not realizing how precarious a situation they were putting themselves in as they cavorted across the surface of the pond, which was 15 feet deep.

Then disaster struck.

“I was looking out my window, and saw the kids … fall in,” Talavera said during a news conference on Monday, according to KCNC-TV.

In a flash, Talavera put on her shoes and ran to help the three children in the water.

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“Before I realized it, I was on the pond pulling the two kids out, and that’s when I fell in the pond for the third kid,” Talavera said.

Two managed to get out unharmed, but the third, 6-year-old Zakiyah Williams, had been under the water for several minutes.

By the time Talavera found her and brought her to the surface, she too was struggling. Thankfully, a good Samaritan threw a rope to her and helped her get out, according to KMGH-TV.

Once the 6-year-old girl was out of the water, things didn’t look good. She was cold to the touch, absolutely soaked, not breathing and had no pulse.

Deputies with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office soon arrived and started performing CPR on the girl until South Metro Fire Rescue showed up and took over.

“Seeing her breathe was a massive relief,” Deputy Justin Dillard said.

Zakiyah was taken to the hospital where she was in serious condition for two days — but she pulled through and is now back home with family, all thanks to the teamwork of neighbors and first responders who jumped in to help.

“I knew it was me,” Talavera said of her decision to help. “It had to be me.”

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“It was a perfect storm,”  South Metro Fire Engineer Corey Sutton acknowledged.

“We were talking back at the fire station after it happened, and I hope if something like that happened to one of my boys, someone like her would be close by.”

Dillard added that while each of them had a role to play in the girl’s rescue, someone greater had been orchestrating the miracle.

“That was not our doing, that was, that was something much bigger than us,” Dillard told KMGH-TV.

The girl and her family met with their rescuers to thank them for their life-saving efforts.

“It was like a puzzle,” the girl’s father, Walter Williams, said. “Every piece had to go together for it to work, and the puzzle got put together so fast it saved my daughter’s life.

“I just want to say thank you to all of them. They saved [her] and she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them.”

Talavera is just grateful she was in the right place at the right time.

“I am speechless,” Talavera said. “I’m just blessed enough to see her face and see their faces. It’s a very happy ending, and I mean… and it doesn’t always work out that way, and … I’m so glad it did.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking