14-year-old dies at Kemnay after falling into well

October 17, 2017 10:19 am

A 14-year-old girl from Souris died on Sunday after falling into a residential well, which the fire chief described as a freak accident.

The teenager was walking in a farmyard, west of Kemnay, when she stepped on the lid over the freshwater well, knocking it off and falling 20 feet into the water, Blue Hills RCMP said, adding she had "supervision."

After receiving the call at 3:14 p.m., the Whitehead Fire Department arrived to find adults trying to rescue the girl, but they did not have the necessary equipment to reach her, said fire Chief Kelly Crosson.

A firefighter descended down the well, using a ladder and secured by ropes, to pull up the girl, who was unresponsive.

The youth was receiving medical attention when paramedics arrived to rush her to the Brandon Regional Health Centre. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.

"I know my guys are beating themselves up over this, wondering if they could have done more," Crosson said.

The incident has shaken up a number of firefighters, prompting Crosson to invite experts from the critical incident stress management team to speak with members who responded to the call.

Considering how troubled his crew is, Crosson said he "can’t imagine what the family and the residents of the property must be going through."

The news has rattled Souris.

"I think the honest reaction of everybody is kind of shock at this point," said Souris-Glenwood Head of Council Darryl Jackson, who is confident the community will come together to help the family.

Blue Hills RCMP Cpl. Mike Boychuk said the girl was visiting a farm in the Municipality of Whitehead. The teenager knew the property owners in a "friend-type situation," Boychuk said.

He explained police are investigating the incident, which is not believed to be suspicious.

The teenager was a student at Souris School.

In a statement, Southwest Horizon School Division Supt. Carolyn Cory wrote the school community and division "mourn the loss of one of our students and friends."

"We extend our deepest condolences to the family and offer our ongoing support as they navigate this very difficult time. Supports for students and staff are in place and will continue as needed."

After returning to their homes Sunday, firefighters, including Crosson, made sure to check the freshwater wells at their properties, to ensure the covers are locked.

"It was sort of a trip and a fall, a totally freak accident that happened here," he said of the tragedy. "A couple screws to fasten the lid to the (well) cribbing; it could have been that simple to prevent this."