Six-year-old Colwood boy helps save mother who fell off dock into freezing ocean


WATCH: A Colwood woman is thankful to be alive after she fell off a dock into freezing waters last week. The hero? her six-year-old boy who ran for nearly three hundred meters to get help. Luisa Alvarez has the story. 

Six-year-old Jax Burnside will shake his head if you say he’s a hero. But he is to his mother Shannon Burnside, after playing a key role in saving her after she fell off the dock where they were fishing and into the cold ocean.

“Without Jax, it would have gone horribly, horribly wrong,” said Burnside.

Burnside was wearing a life vest when she fell in and grabbed onto the dock for leverage but it was too high for her to get out on her own.

“There is no way I was going to be able to pull myself up,” said Burnside.

It happened Nov. 17th at the Cheanuh Marina in East Sooke, the two were at the farthest end of the boat dock, about 300 metres from shore. While getting ready to go home they decided to throw one last line in, that’s when Burnside lost her footing.

“I took a step back to get some “umph” and my foot was halfway on the dock and halfway off and I fell backward,” said Burnside.

She stayed calm and told Jax to use her cell phone to call 9-1-1.

“He doesn’t know how to actually get into it so he used Siri,” said Burnside “and he told Siri to call 911 and it did nothing and then he said Siri call daddy and it still did nothing because it was just out of range,” said Burnside.

Burnside doesn’t remember feeling cold in the water only that her body was starting to go numb, so she told Jax to go get help and right away he started sprinting all the way back screaming for anyone to come.

Marina Employee Grant Sawyer heard him from about a hundred meters away.

“You could see his little legs running, I could hear him screaming “help” and obviously I started running down the dock and we could hear her in the water screaming,” said Sawyer.

At that point Burnside remembers losing her grip of the dock. She had been in the water already for about fifteen minutes and was nearly hypothermic.

“I had nothing left I couldn’t hold on I couldn’t try to do anything,” Said Burnside.

Sawyer was able to grab a hold of her until more people came to help. Two other’s that had been watching them from their deck came running out as well.

The crowd of rescuers pulled Burnside from the water, and with the help from another woman with a boat, brought her back to shore to warm up and Sawyer monitored her vitals.

“People here are absolutely amazing they literally came from all different directions and all worked together. I don’t think I would be here if it weren’t for all those people,” said Burnside.

Burnside was left with a dislocated shoulder and some cuts and bruises but says those will heal.

She is just happy to be able to tell her story and of course,  is beaming with pride that her little man reacted the way he did.



Luisa AlvarezLuisa Alvarez

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