AIRDRIE, Alta. – Residents of a community just north of Calgary attended a candlelight vigil Monday evening to show their support for the family of a six-year-old boy who died in hospital after he and his brother fell through the ice on a canal earlier that day.
A woman who lives in the area called 911 after she saw the two boys go through the ice. Firefighters pulled the boys from the freezing water and they were rushed to hospital, but the younger boy died.
His 10-year-old brother suffered hypothermia and was in serious condition, though RCMP said his prognosis is good.
“Our lives aren’t that important that we can’t take the time and pay our respects and show the family that we care,” said neighbourhood resident Vanessa Clarke at the candlelight vigil.
A makeshift memorial including a colourful teddy bear and flowers had been erected on the pedestrian bridge above the canal.
“The area where this happened is a residential area and they live in the area so it wasn’t as if the boys had strayed far from home by any stretch,” said RCMP Cpl. Curtis Peters.
“It’s a tragedy for the family and for the community, the loss of a child in a situation like this is just devastating.”
EMS officials said they don’t know how long the boys were in the water or what factors were involved in the incident.
Peters said recent warm weather has affected the ice in small bodies of water, adding he’s not sure if there were warnings to stay off the canal in Airdrie.
“The ponds and the canals in all these areas that take on drainage this time of year,they’re not going to be stable, they’re not going to be safe to be on. Hopefully we can get everyone to stay away from those.”
Monday was Family Day in Alberta, a statutory holiday.
“It’s awful, it’s pretty hard to talk about it,” Peters said.