‘I don’t know how I did it’: Mom saves daughter, 4, from sinking car after crash

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As her car skidded across black ice and began rolling down an embankment toward an icy pond, Ashley Holland thought she was going to die.

But moments later, the Hantsport, N.S., woman found the strength to not only save herself, but also her four-year-old daughter who was strapped in the backseat as freezing water rushed in. 

« When something like that happens, it’s like your parental instincts just kick in, right? And you do what you need to do to get your child to safety, » Holland, 24, told CBC Radio’s Mainstreet on Monday, a day after the terrifying ordeal.

The mother of two managed to haul her daughter free from the sinking car and swim to a nearby embankment. 

‘A miracle’

« How they were even able to get out of that car was a miracle, » said Capt. Ryan Richard of the Brooklyn volunteer fire department, who arrived at the scene shortly after the pair made it out of the water. 

« To be able to swim to shore and get up over that embankment is totally unheard of, » he told CBC Radio’s Maritime Noon

« I’ll be honest with you, in my last 26 years I’ve been to many similar incidents and unfortunately they’re usually very fatal. »

Holland had been taking her daughter to a birthday party around noon Sunday when she struck black ice just a few minutes away from her home.

Ashley Holland and her daughter Macy were in the car when it crashed. Holland’s youngest child, 14-month-old Nyla, was at home at the time. (Submitted by Ashley Holland)

She lost control of the vehicle and it ended up rolling down an embankment.

« Terrifying, completely terrifying. My daughter just started screaming and I was just thinking in my head, ‘The water, please just don’t go in the water, like please,' » said Holland.

« Then we hit the water. »

As the car rolled, her daughter Macy kept screaming, « Mom, I’m going to die! » The car initially landed on its roof and both passenger side windows smashed to pieces on impact. 

Water started gushing in, filling up the Toyota Corolla. 

Struggling to open door

Holland unbuckled herself, falling onto the roof of the car, and crawled out a window into the water. She tried to open her daughter’s door from the outside.

« I finally did get it open, but I had slush and ice all over my hands and everywhere and my hand slipped and the door slammed shut. So I’m freaking out trying to think, what do I do? » 

For the briefest moment, Holland thought she wouldn’t be able to save Macy. The car was sinking too fast. Her numb hands and legs were working too slowly.

This photo was taken soon after Holland and her daughter escaped the car. (Submitted by Ryan Richard)

But she didn’t give up.

Holland climbed over the car and went back in through a window and worked with her daughter to free her from the car seat. Macy undid the top straps while Holland unbuckled the bottom ones. 

« I just grabbed her and pulled her out and I tried to keep her above the water. I didn’t want her to be hypothermic. So from the waist down she was soaked, but I mean her hair didn’t even get wet and I don’t know how I did it. »

She managed to carry Macy to shore and push her up onto the embankment, but Holland’s body had reached its limit.

« It was really icy and slushy and I was having a really hard time because I thought I was going to pass out. I was freezing so I was having a hard time getting up the hill, and I just said to her, ‘Run, you need to run, go,’ because I saw there was a car coming our way and I didn’t want them to miss us. »

It took some time to haul Holland’s car out of the pond. (Submitted by Ryan Richard)

As Macy flagged down the passing car for help, Holland managed to haul herself to the top of the embankment. The woman in the car wrapped Macy and her mother in a jacket and called 911 while the pair warmed up in the vehicle. 

At about the same time, a fire truck from Brooklyn drove by on its way to assist another fire department. Richard spotted something sticking out of the pond and had the truck turn around. 

They gave Holland and her daughter warm clothes and blankets while they waited for the paramedics. Richard said Holland and her daughter were hypothermic, in shock and disoriented. 

As a precaution, two firefighters put on diving suits and went into the water to make sure no one else was on board, but the car was empty.

Holland said she was lucky she didn’t take her 14-month-old with her or things could have been much worse. 

« You see stories like this on the news all the time, you know through winter and even in the summer, and it’s like a lot of them don’t make it, » she said. « So I’m just thankful that, you know, we did. »   

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Pet pot-bellied pig only slightly scorched after Wetaskiwin mayor saves his bacon

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When Angela Pauls screamed for someone to rescue « her baby » from her burning home in December, firefighters had no idea she was referring to a pet pot-bellied pig.

« They asked if there was anyone still inside. I presume they were asking about people but I was like, ‘Oh, my baby is in there,’ so the firefighter went to the back and helped pull him out. »

The saviour of the swine, named Mr. Pua, was none other than Tyler Gandam, Wetaskiwin’s mayor who also volunteers as a firefighter.

Turns out, it was a tricky procedure to save the bacon of the stubborn, arthritic, 75-pound-porker.

Angela Pauls and her beloved house pig, Mr. Pua. (Angela Pauls/Facebook)

« You try to pick up any pig, the first thing they do is scream and then squirm. Everything is thrashing about and freaking out so you risk dropping them and breaking their legs, » Pauls said from her new home in Pigeon Lake.  

It was about 7 a.m. on Dec. 19, 2018, when Paul, who lived on an acreage in the Millet area, was startled awake by the sound of her neighbour screaming outside.

Her mobile home was on fire, the front porch of the rental was engulfed in flames.

Dressed only in pajamas, Pauls and her husband managed to get their cats, dogs and another pet pig — this one named Matilda — out of the house safely.

But Mr. Pua, their older and much larger house pig, was trapped inside a back bedroom where he sleeps during the cold winter months.

Because of a miscommunication, Paul said, more than an hour passed before firefighters arrived. Panic had begun to set in.

Mr. Pua was a cherished pet. They had nursed him back to health as a piglet and his company — along with a brood of recently acquired farm animals including goats and miniature horses — had helped the couple deal with their new status as empty-nesters.

Pauls’ husband tried again to go back inside their burning home to save Mr. Pua, but it was too dangerous.

« When the fire came in off the deck, it came through our living room, through our kitchen, up into the roof over to our bedrooms, » Pauls said.

« The deck doors were completely on fire … You couldn’t see in front of you. »

Mr Pua has always liked to lounge inside during the winter months. The cold is hard on his arthritic bones. (Angela Pauls/Facebook)

Gandam said it was a strange night on the job.He’d saved cats from trees, a duck out of a sewer, but never a pig.

Gandam had followed one of the other firefighters inside the trailer but couldn’t see him anywhere. Then he heard a loud crash in the back hallway.

Gandam found his fellow first responder in the washroom, wrestling with a pig.

After a moment of disbelief, Gandam got to work saving Mr. Pua.

I wasn’t sure if Mr. Pua was a biter or not.– Tyler Gandam

« Between the two of us, we got it moving in the right direction outside the bathroom and then I used a big water bottle from a water cooler to corral it out of the trailer, » Gandam recalled. « It was pretty reluctant to go so. 

« A person, you can pull out and not have to worry about them biting you. I wasn’t sure if Mr. Pua was a biter or not. » 

Eventually, Gandam found Pauls outside and let her know Mr. Pua was safe. Gandam said her reaction reminded him of why he loves the job. 

« The tears started and she was so thankful, » he said. « I don’t know how heroic I would call it but I was just glad we were able to reunite Mr. Pua and Angela.

« I was still trying to wrap my head around the fact that we had saved a pig from a structure fire. »

The ordeal left Mr. Pua a little singed.

After the fire, Mr. Pua spent a few weeks recuperating in the « cat room » of a luxury pet resort. (Awesome Pawsome/Facebook)

« Of course, the roof is caving in, there is fire and flames and water and chemical going everywhere. He got two burns on his back, his ears and his feet. » 

Hamming it up

After a short stint at the veterinarian, Mr. Pua was offered free accommodations at Awesome Pawsome, a Spruce Grove pet hotel where he quickly became cause célèbre.

« They offered him free room and board while he was healing, so we could find a new home, » Pauls said.

« [They] put him up in the cat room. He had his own private bathroom, his own private sleeping quarters and he apparently became quite the sensation on their Facebook. »

Since then, Mr. Pua has moved into his new pen inside the heated garage of his new family home.

His current status, according to Pauls?

« Oh, he’s lounging. »

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Fishing licence saves the day for woman blocked from boarding WestJet plane

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Debrah Theissen’s fish tale is more accurately a fish licence tale — an absurd story of a missed flight, random rules, a marriage certificate, and, yes, a brand new fishing licence bought in desperation by a Kelowna woman who has no intention of going fishing. Ever.

It all started with the job action at Canada Post.

Theissen’s new driver’s licence was stuck in the mail which was a problem because she was booked to go visit her 82-year-old mother in Winnipeg over Christmas.

The fishing licence WestJet helped Debrah Theissen secure so she could get on a plane to Winnipeg to see her elderly mother. (submitted by Debrah Theissen)

Without that driver’s licence, she had didn’t have the valid photo ID required to board her flight.

When she phoned WestJet, she says, it told her no problem, she could use two pieces of government-issued non-photo ID instead. 

So, she dug up her marriage licence. Along with her temporary driver’s licence, Theissen assumed she was good to go.

She wasn’t.

WestJet, as it turns out, doesn’t accept marriage licences, something Theissen found out the hard way when she tried to check in for her flight.

Fishing licence good, marriage licence bad

Surprsingly, she says she was told by the agent the airline would accept a valid fishing licence.

A second surprise followed. Theissen was told she could get said fishing licence right in the Kelowna airport.

A helpful WestJet supervisor escorted her to the commissionaires office.

There, Theissen was set up on a computer where she filled out the online fishing licence application, paid $36 and immediately printed her brand new B.C. 2018-2019 Non-tidal Angling Licence.

Fishing licences can be obtained at the Kelowna Aiport with the help of WestJet and the airport commissionaires, according to Theissen. (Google Street View)

Unfortunately, in the minutes it took to secure the critical document, boarding for her flight was halted and Theissen was forced to reschedule.

One day later, fishing licence in hand, she sailed through security without a snag.

‘It’s maddening!’

One month later, the weirdness of it all still doesn’t sit right. 

« It’s maddening, » said Theissen. « I could have plugged in any information for the fishing licence … there’s no verification. To me, that marriage licence is a lot more of an official document than a silly little fishing licence. »

Her husband is equally incredulous.

« She couldn’t get on the plane with her temporary driver’s licence, but she could get on the plane with a fishing licence that has no photo and that she had just applied for … that we just typed on the computer and printed, » said Gary Theissen. 

In an email, WestJet said: « In our effort to assist this traveller, the guest was advised of additional ID options that met the Transport Canada’s requirements, » although fishing licence does not appear on the Public Safety Canada website the airline references, nor does it appear on the WestJet website.

Although the ordeal meant missing a day of vacation, a special Christmas gift captures the humour of the situation.

« A family member gave me a fishing lure, » she said. « I thought that was hilarious. »

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Manitoba man saves teen from burning vehicle – Winnipeg

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A Manitoba man is recovering emotionally after rescuing a teen driver from a burning vehicle Friday afternoon.

Dillon Vincent, the co-owner of a fertilizer and weed company, was leaving a job site when he came across a single-vehicle rollover just before 2 p.m. near the intersection of Plessis Road and Dawson Road South.

“It looked like a vehicle had just swerved off the road, and there were people standing on the road,” Vincent told Global News at his home in East St. Paul, Man., on Saturday. “There was one girl unconscious on the road, and the vehicle was starting to burn. There were flames coming from under the hood.”


READ MORE:
Car crashes near Southdale, erupts in flames, 5 people sent to hospital

Dillon Vincent, the co-owner of a fertilizer and weed company, was leaving a job site on Dawson Road South when he saw a burning vehicle.

Joe Scarpelli/Global News

Moments after arriving on the scene, Vincent said he spotted the driver trapped inside the vehicle.

“I told him to help me to try and save his life, and he twisted his body around so I could grab him under the arms, and I was able to pull him though the window and drag him away from the vehicle before the flames got higher,” he said.

Vincent recalls the vehicle bursting into flames just minutes later.

“You couldn’t recognize the vehicle. It was completely in flames,” he said.


READ MORE:
Teen, 17, dies in two-vehicle collision on Highway 3 southwest of Winnipeg

All seven teens in the vehicle were taken to hospital, including one by air, police told Global News. As of Saturday afternoon, police said just three kids, including the driver, remain in hospital in stable condition.

On Friday, the City of Winnipeg had initially said five occupants of the vehicle were transported to hospital, with two in critical condition, another two in unstable condition and one in stable condition.

Vincent hasn’t seen the teens since but said he was thinking about their recovery all night.

“I think I have calmed down and I’m glad to hear that the kids are all recovering,” he said.

Police are investigating what led to the crash.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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New deal with province saves Kawartha Downs harness racing – Peterborough

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After years of facing its demise, there will be harness racing at Kawartha Downs, in Fraserville, Ont., in 2019.

Officials with the track say they struck a deal with the province on Sunday — just days after rejecting what was supposed to be the final offer from the Ontario government to save the track.

READ MORE: Kawartha Downs still in dark on how much money it will get from province

“Yesterday (Friday), I shared that despite our government’s best efforts, Kawartha Downs did not accept a deal to keep horse racing going in our community,” said Laurie Scott, minister of Labour and Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes Brock MPP.  “I am pleased to report that continued, pointed conversations have led to Kawartha Downs agreeing to the deal offered.”

The track lost most of its revenue following the cancellation of the Slots at Racetracks program in 2012, which saw a portion of proceeds from the slot machines at the casino funnelled to the track.

The initial offer from the province, which was rejected by Kawartha Downs Friday, stated 150 of the 450 slot machines would remain at the track, with the remainder relocating to the new casino in Peterborough, which is slated to open later this fall.

Terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed.

— More to come 

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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