A teen girl’s body was recovered from an icy river in South Dakota after the girl jumped in to save her 6-year-old brother.
The body of Madison Leigh Wallace was found in the in the Big Sioux River at Falls Park on Friday, though police are still looking for another man believed drowned. Wallace jumped into the river on Thursday night when she believed her young brother fell into the frigid, frothing water.
It’s not known if the boy actually fell in or was just obscured by the foam, which reached as high as 10 feet. The boy, Garrett Wallace, was found alive.
‘‘It’s hard to say if he actually ended up in the water or not,” Police Chief Doug Barthel told The Associated Press.
After Madison jumped into the water, Sioux Falls resident Lyle Francis Eagletail also jumped in to help the siblings. A friend of Eagletail’s watching the ordeal said the rescuer actually had the girl and boy by the hands, but the slipped through his grip and disappeared.
Sioux Falls Fire Chief Jim Sideras said the selfless actions saved Garrett’s life.
‘‘These people literally jumped in without thinking of their own safety and trying to rescue that child,” Sideras said. ‘‘It’s a very noble act that they did, and they probably contributed to saving that boy’s life.”
It’s not known how Garrett escaped the water, which rescuers said is powerful and difficult to see through the thick foam.
“It’s just such a hectic environment,” Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Cpt. Nick Luther told ABCNews.com. “The water moves so fast. The temperature, the ice, the foam, there are so many obstacles.”
Sideras added that the teen girl’s body was found in frigid water that was anywhere from five to 10 feet deep. After being recovered, the teen’s body was taken by her family to a local hospital.
The city of Sioux Falls is known for the powerful river and the cascading waterfalls in Falls Park. In the summer this becomes a popular tourist destination, with more than 525,000 visitors going there each year.
Fatal accidents have been common there, and some have criticized the city for not properly fencing off the fast-moving river. There has been much resistance to the idea.
‘‘The Falls is the crown jewel of our city,” Barthel said. ‘‘I don’t think we want to get to a position where we’re going to be totally fencing it off.”
As the teen girl’s body was found in the frigid water of the river, rescuers continued to look for the body of Eagletail. The city rescheduled its annual lighting of the falls green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.