A 14-year-old boy’s condition continues to show signs of improvement after he and two companions fell through the ice on Lake Sainte Louise at Lake Saint Louis earlier this week.
The boys fell through thin ice about 11:35 a.m. on Jan. 19 in an area on the lake behind the Saint Louis Community Associations offices at 10 Cognac. The lake is the smaller of the two main community lakes.
The hospitalized boy was underwater between 10 to13 minutes before he was rescued by police and firefighters responding to the scene. He was taken to Cardinal Glennon Children Medical Center.
Another boy in the water was also rescued. The third boy was able to get out of the lake on his own. Police said two boys were treated at hospitals for hypothermia.
Neither the hospital nor authorities would comment on the boy’s condition; however, in a short statement issued earlier this week, the boy’s family said: “We are trusting in God for healing and have seen the power of prayer.”
The Facebook page for Living Word Christian School, where the three boys are eighth-graders, identified the boy hospitalized as John Smith. On Jan. 21, the school’s Facebook page included a post that in part read: “We just heard from John Smith’s mother that he is awake, recognizing people, and moving on command! This is miracle realm, folks!”
According to Lake Saint Louis Police Officer Rick Frauenfelder, Smith had no pulse and wasn’t breathing when he was pulled from the water by Lake Saint Louis and Wentzville firemen. Frauenfelder and Officer Ryan Hall were the first responders to the scene.
Firemen began fibrillation to try to resuscitate him. Police said that hospital personnel were able to get a pulse about 45 minutes later at the medical center. Frauenfelder said the cold temperatures may have helped in reviving the boy.
Before the accident, the boys were seen on the ice by Ron Wilson, the general manager for the association, who was looking out his window. Police say the boys were about 40 yards out on the ice from the association’s boat dock.
Wilson went outside and told the boys to get off the ice because it wasn’t safe. Recent warmer temperatures had thinned the ice to only a few inches deep in spots. He said the boys appeared to be moving off the ice after his warning.
“I went back and sat down and looked out the window and saw them in the water,” Wilson said.
Arriving on the scene, Frauenfelder and Hall saw one boy bobbing in and out of the water and another trying to hold on to an ice shelf but appeared to be weakening by the cold water. Both officers grabbed the gear and headed for the water. One of the boys, Smith, disappeared underwater. Lake Saint Louis and Wentzville firemen, wearing special suits and gear, arrived and found Smith.
Wilson said later that the association, which manages private amenities in Lake Saint Louis, strongly discourages people from going out on the ice when the lakes freeze over. Some families, he said, drill holes to see if the ice is at least six inches before they go out on the ice and he noted that “last year, the ice on the main lake was 10 inches thick.” But he added the area often doesn’t get consistent cold weather that forms thick ice and warmer temperatures thaw the ice.
Lake Saint Louis Police Chief Mike Force told the city’s Board of Aldermen at their Jan. 20 meeting that the boy hospitalized was responding to treatment.
“He’s very fortunate,” Force said. “It was a real combination of everyone doing exactly what they should have done at exactly the right time.”