A man is being called a hero after swimming out to rescue a pair of young girls who were carried out into the middle of Sturgeon Lake Monday.
Jonas Halkett, 31, said he was in his yard on the Sturgeon Lake First Nation when he heard a commotion down by the water.
He and his sister, Tracy Standing, went down to see what was going on.
“There was people standing around just watching, freaking out. So, we told my brother to go out there,” Standing said.
With a lifetime of swimming under his belt, Halkett said he didn’t think twice about making his way out to the girls.
“The first thing that came to my mind was, ‘That could be my kids out there,'” he said.
However, as he waded into the water, Halkett realized he didn’t have anything to use to help bring the girls to safety.
Halkett said he turned back to grab a chunk of styrofoam from some kids on the bank, then swam out to the girls as fast as he could.
“I was panicking because I saw them dipping their heads in the water momentarily at times. So I kind of got scared,” he recalled.
Earlier this week, Saskatchewan RCMP reported the girls were about 200 metres from the shore.
Standing said everyone on the bank was on edge as they watched Halkett swim out to the girls.
“I was scared, I had the goosebumps all over my body,” she said.
Halkett reached the girls, handed them the styrofoam so they could keep themselves afloat, then hauled them back towards shore. A pair of teens waded in to help him bring the girls in for the last few metres.
“(The girls) were just kind of out of breath and tired. I’m not too sure how they were doing, but they were kind of not saying much,” Halkett said.
With the girls safe, Halkett made his way back home.
“I didn’t think of it as anything serious. I was just glad that I got them to shore,” he said.
Standing said she later learned the girls had been playing in the water using styrofoam “floaties” when wind pushed them out into the middle of the water, where they then lost hold of their flotation devices.
–With files from JT Marshall and Chris Carr.