Saturday , October 23 2021

Six-year-old 'white as a ghost' at the sight of mother trapped in frigid water


Six-year-old Jax looks like the mother just after she fell into the frigid ocean water off the Cheanuh Marina in the Beecher Bay First Nation.

Shannon Burnside, 44, was wearing a life-jacket, but was weighed down by heavy boots and a crab trap tangled around her leg, she was unable to pull herself onto the dock.

What Jax did next probably saved his mother's life.

Burnside and Jax, who lives in Colwood, has been crabbing at the Cheanuh Marina on Dock 7, about 500 meters from the marina office, last weekend.

Burnside decided to throw the crab trap in one last time, and he took a step back for momentum, he slipped back leg off the side of the dock.

She went under the water and when she was resurfaced, she saw the look on Jax's face. "He was white as a ghost," she said. "He was absolutely terrified."

Burnside swam toward the dock but was unable to pull herself up. Jax got down and tried to reach for his mom, calling out "Mama, Mama," but Burnside was too far down and he didn't want her son to fall in.

The crab trap had wrapped around Burns' leg and her big suede hiking boots were dragging her down.

She tried to get her elbows onto the dock. "I tried trying and my muscles stopped working," she said.

Jax got his mom's cellphone and used the Siri app to first try calling 911, then his father. There are no cellphone coverage and the calls not go through.

So Burnside tried to keep her steady voice and told Jax: "You're going to have to go get help, but don't run. Be calm. "

Jax took off toward the marina office, and Burnside started calling out for help.

Two residents of a house overlooking the marina were what happened. After they saw Jax running, they were spotted Burning in the water and ran toward her.

Grant Sawyer, a marina employee, also spotted Jax running toward the office and he rushed toward Dock 7.

He arrived first and grabbed Burnside’s hand.

"I don't have anything else," she told him. "I can’t hold on anymore."

Shortly after, Brent Baker, who lives in the nearby home, and another man arrived at the dock.

The three men pulled Burnside to safety.

Jax was waiting in the marina office, being comforted by two women.

Burnside was too weak to walk, so a woman with a boat took her to the gas dock, where Burnside could dry off and warm up with a cup of hot chocolate.

Jax, a Grade 1 student at Happy Valley Elementary school, told him that he kept tripping and falling on the dock, but each time, he picked himself up and stopped running until he reached the office.

The two women in the office told Jax he was the hero of the day.

"They said:‘ How do you spell Jax? H-E-R-O, '' Burnside recalled.

Burnside said there was a "split frozen moment" when she was in the water and she saw Jax's panicked, tear-stained face.

"I thought:" Is that the last thing I'm going to see? "I decided I was going to fight , "She said.

Burnside said Jax had barely left her side in the since the incident week.

"He's truly an amazing little boy," she said. "I am extremely proud."

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