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

Oak Bay approves subdivision for lot that houses Maclure-designed heritage home

Mansion-style Blair Gowie house famous for its design and historical connection with Butchart family

MLA Andrew Weaver thins workload after illness, full recovery expected

BC Green Party leader felt symptoms at a public event in Langley, and was taken to hospital

Golfer aims for hole-in-one to raise cash for Victoria Hospice

Fundraiser event hits Highland Pacific Golf Course Sept. 17

UPDATE: One man dies in Saanich collision

Police are asking people to avoid the intersection at Cumberland and Union roads

Malahat truck crash cleared but over 200 still without power

Hydro poles taken out in Monday afternoon crash

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

Two Nanaimo residents share $5-million Lotto 6/49 prize

Jesse Logan and Teresa Winters Day matched all six numbers in Aug. 21 Lotto 6/49 draw

Island campground on the chopping block as ALC deadline looms

Owners fighting to continue facility’s operation, with a huge outpouring of support

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

Free Tesla 3 offered with purchase of Surrey townhome

Century Group’s offer for Viridian development runs through Oct. 31

Most Read