Six-year-old "white as a ghost" at sight of mother trapped in icy water


Six-year-old Jax looked at her mother shortly after she fell into the icy ocean water at Cheanuh Marina in the First Nation of Beecher Bay.

Shannon Burnside, 44, wore a lifejacket, but, overwhelmed by heavy boots and a tangled crab trap around her leg, she could not stand on the dock.

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

Burnside and Jax, who live in Colwood, were on the run at Marina Cheanuh on Dock 7, about 500 meters from the marina's office last weekend.

Burnside decided to throw the crab trap for the last time, and when he took a step back, the back leg slipped on the side of the pier.

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

Burnside swam to the dock, but he could not get up. Jax went downstairs and tried to reach out to her mother, calling her "Mama, Mommy," but Burnside was too down and she did not want her son to fall.

The crab trap had curled around Burnside's leg and his big suede boots were dragging her down.

She tried to put her elbows on the dock. "I kept trying and trying and my muscles stopped working," she said.

Jax took his mother's cell phone and used the Siri application to try calling 911, then his father. There was no mobile coverage and the calls were not answered.

Then Burnside tried to keep his voice steady and told Jax, "You're going to have to go get some help, but do not run.

Jax went to the marina office and Burnside began to call for help.

Two residents of a house overlooking the marina were trying to figure out what was going on. After they saw Jax running, they saw Burnside in the water and ran toward him.

Grant Sawyer, a marina employee, also saw Jax running toward the office and ran toward Dock 7.

He came first and took Burnside's hand.

"I have nothing else," she told him. "I can not take it anymore."

Shortly after, Brent Baker, who lives in the house next door, and another man arrived at the quay.

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 pier, where Burnside was able to dry and warm up with a cup of hot chocolate.

Jax, a first-grade student at Happy Valley School, told his mother he was stumbling and falling on the dock, but each time he got up and kept running until he reached the office.

The two women in the office told Jax that 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 "frozen moment" when she was in the water and saw Jax's face in a panic, stained with tears.

"I looked at him looking at me and I thought," Is this the last thing I'm going to see? " I did not want this to be the last thing he saw, so I decided I was going to fight, "she said.

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

"He really is an incredible little boy," she said. "I'm extremely proud."

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