One Sunday afternoon, Dusti Talavera gazed out her apartment window and watched a group of children play on a frozen pond in the center of her complex in Arapahoe County, Denver.
Suddenly, the icy surface cracked, and there was a splash. Before Dusti realized it, she was in the middle of the pond trying to pull the kids out of the water.
Upon seeing the horrific scene, Dusti threw on her shoes and ran out into the cold air and onto the 15-foot-deep pond where the children fell through.
She managed to pull out a 4-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy before plunging into the freezing water herself as she tried to save a 6-year-old girl.
All she could think about during the terrifying moment was saving the kids.
“Nobody was really outside,” Dusti, 23, said during a press conference. “I just knew it was me that had to do it.”
She tried to pull herself and the child out, but the ice was too slippery. Dusti treaded water to stay afloat as she tried to hold the unconscious child’s head above the surface.
Thankfully, a 16-year-old relative of the little girl—believed to have been underwater for over two minutes—came and threw them a rope and pulled them to safety.
“I’m thankful for that young man who threw the rope,” Dusti said. “I would have been in there longer, she would have been in there longer. I don’t know what would have happened.”
The girl and her savior eventually made it to the surface, but the former was no longer breathing and had no pulse. When first responders arrived at the scene, Deputy David Rodriguez immediately took off the girl’s soaked winter coat and performed CPR to get her to breathe on her own.
“We reverted back to what we were trained to do,” Deputy Justin Dillard said. “We’re all fathers and we all have young kids. It’s hard to see a 6-year-old girl whose face is blue with her eyes open and not responding, not breathing.”
As the girl started to breathe, she was rushed to Children’s Hospital, where she was reportedly in a “stable” condition. She was eventually transferred to the intensive care unit at Denver Health Medical Center. The sheriff’s office said she is now in “serious” condition but is expected to survive.
The two other kids who fell into the frigid water weren’t injured during the incident and are safe at home.
Cory Sudden of the South Metro Fire Rescue was moved to tears as he recognized Dusti’s life-saving act during the conference.
“I have four boys. What she did was amazing. We were back at the fire station talking about how brave she was … and, gosh, I hope if this happened to one of [my boys], that somebody like her was close by,” he said.
Dusti told the police she “wasn’t concerned for her safety because they were babies and they needed help.”
“The fact that we had her witness these kids fall in there and her quick reaction … in putting her life at risk for the kids to make sure that they could make it another day is amazing,” said Deputy Blaine Moulton.
The officer added that the incident should remind parents to teach their kids about ice safety. With the Colorado weather often changing from cold to warm, ice on frozen bodies of water may not be as thick as it looks.
Authorities are investigating the incident, but no criminal charges are expected.
Thank you, Dusti Talavera, for saving the lives of these kids. You are a true hero! Watch the video below to learn more about this inspiring story of bravery.
***Did you enjoy our feel-good and positive story? You can help support our site by simply SUBSCRIBING and sharing our stories with your friends and family.