A MUM has praised two teenage boys as ‘heroes’ for saving her daughter and friend’s life after a terrible sledging accident.
Chloe Parkinson, 12, and best friend Martine Hughes, 11, were sledging in a field in Fenay Bridge early Wednesday evening when they slipped and plummeted 300ft down a steep hill.
Their sledge cut through a barbed wire fence and they plunged into the freezing Fenay Beck at the bottom of the hill.
Chloe was trapped under the water after a heavy log fell on top of her and, despite desperate attempts, her friend couldn’t pull her clear.
Their lives were saved by teenagers Matthew Arnell and Steven Keating, who heard Martine’s cries for help. The two 16-year-olds risked injury to jump in after the girls.
After pulling them free, the teenagers walked and carried the shaken girls back to Chole’s Fenay Bridge home, later returning to the scene of the accident to try and retrieve the shoes the pair had lost.
The girls’ near-tragedy all too closely mirrored that of Sheffield teenager Francesca Anobile, who died after a sledging accident just a day earlier.
The 16-year-old was killed when her makeshift sledge went through a barbed-wire fence at a Rotherham country park.
Chloe’s mum Christine said that her daughter and friend’s accident could have ended up with the same tragic conclusion if it hadn’t been for the quick-thinking of the two boys, who attend King James’s school in Almondbury – coincidentally the same school as the girls.
She said: “They were actually talking about the girl who died on the news when I heard banging at the door. I opened it and found the girls and the two lads standing there, soaking wet.
“The girls had a few cuts and scratches and their heads were hurting from when they had banged them on the way down.
“They were in shock and freezing cold so I got them into a hot bath right away, but luckily they didn’t need to go to hospital.
“These lads didn’t even think about themselves, they just jumped straight in to save the girls.
“If they hadn’t have been there I dread to think what would have happened, it could have ended in tragedy.
“I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done – they’re heroes.”
Like many other children the girls had been out taking advantage of the recent heavy snowfall in Huddersfield.
But their enjoyment soon turned to fear when they lost control of their sledge as they slid down a steep hill.
Chloe said: “As we went down the hill we realised how steep it was and that we couldn’t stop and we tried rolling off the sides of the sledge.
“We fell as the sledge hit the barbed wire fence and we carried on falling.
“My friend banged her head on a tree and we both fell into the river.
“The water was deep and freezing cold and when we fell in a heavy log fell on top of my head, I couldn’t move it and I was pushed under the water.
“I was panicking and didn’t know what to do, Martine was trying to help me but she was struggling as well. I could feel the air going out of my lungs and I thought we were both going to drown.
“Then I heard my best friend shouting and these two boys came down and jumped into the water. They pulled the log off me and got us both out.
“They told us to hug each other to keep warm and they helped us home; one carried me on his shoulders.
“They both got soaked and their mobile phones were damaged in the water but they still went back to try and find the shoes we lost. Then they came back later to check on us.
“I just want to say thank you to both of them.
“We were really scared and nearly drowned but they saved our lives.”