Authorities in Alberta say the Bott sisters’ farm accident smothered them to death after they were buried alive in a mound of canola seeds. Family and neighbors rushed to free the trapped girls from the back of the farming truck, but they had already suffocated because the small grain size of the canola seeds allowed them to get into the lungs, where they blocked the flow of oxygen.
Even as the Bott family begins the process of grieving, some have criticized the parents, Roger and Bonita Bott, for their alleged lack of proper supervision, or implied that they did not properly prepare the Bott girls for the dangers of farming. Calling the Bott sisters’ farm accident a “loss beyond words,” one family friend is defending the parents against such accusations.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, when emergency response crews arrived at the site of the sisters’ farm accident, they tried administering CPR to 13-year-old Catie Bott and her twin sisters, Dara and Jana. Unfortunately, Catie and one of the twins had already passed away. The second twin was flown by air ambulance to a hospital in Edmonton, but she also perished from her injuries within 10 hours.
“This is hitting us all very hard, front line responders are routinely called out to sad situations, but things are always harder when there’s children involved,” said RCMP Sgt. Mike Numan.
Within hours of the tragedy being announced by the media, friends of Bonita and Roger Bott say they came under attack for the sisters’ farm accident. In response, they released a statement saying they had no regrets for raising their kids on the Canadian farm.
“Our kids died living life on the farm, it is a family farm. We do not regret raising and involving our kids Catie, age 13 – Dara, age 11, and Jana, age 11 on our farm. It was our life!” they said in the statement.
In a blog post entitled “A Loss Beyond Words,” a Bott family friend is defending the parents against critics by saying, “[T]ragedies like this could happen to any of us and all too often on farms throughout North America, they do…. It could have been any of us. We all did stuff like that as kids.” The blog points out that the Bott sisters probably knew “more about farming and the inherent perils and risks than most adults do,” and although farmer parents attempt to mitigate the risk, “there aren’t very many ways to eliminate risk of injury or death on the farm.”
The friend also notes how many an urban-dwelling adult will still text and drive, despite knowing how dangerous it can be.
“People all over the world are telling their kids to get outside and play more, so where do you think farm kids have to go when they go outside to play? It is incumbent upon us as farm parents to teach our children the dangers of the activities they participate in. It’s our role to allow them to grow and make decisions for their own based upon what we teach them. But ultimately, accidents happen. How many adults know that texting and driving is dangerous? How many still do it? Exactly.”
The temptation to “helicopter parent,” or raise children in bubble, is also highlighted as a problem. Instead, it’s claimed that parents should remain vigilant and teach children about consequences and hazards while granting them “the freedom to explore the world with the knowledge that you are empowering them.”
“Accidents will happen. Despite our best intentions and all of the safeguards we could possibly implement, tragedy will strike, oftentimes when we least expect it. Don’t let this fear override all of the great things about raising your children. The time we have with them is precious. Remember that. Cherish that. Be grateful for every moment. Because despite all of our best intentions, all of our knowledge transfer, all of our urges to save our children from the world, we have to let them go out into it and to experience it. It’s as much our role as parents as it is theirs as children.”
The blog ends by noting how the community is made up of “farming families joining together to comprise one grander unit. Whether related by blood, or geography, or simply the passion for working the land, we are family.” This belief has already been shown in action, not just words.
— Calgary Herald (@calgaryherald) October 16, 2015
Pastor Brian Allan of the Withrow Gospel Mission says this larger farming family has rallied around Roger and Bonita Bott after the sisters’ farm accident left them devastated, and the the neighbors plan on finishing the harvest for the Bott family.
“We are going to be spending time with them. I know that there are guys down there working around the farm right now, cleaning things up and just trying to get things back to some sense to normal,” he said. “We feel the impact of this loss in a substantial way.”
In addition, these friends and neighbors have set up a GoFundMe fundraiser campaign for the Bott family in order to help them financially. The latest update also explained where the money will go.
“All funds from this campaign will be deposited directly to Bott Family Trust at the Eckville Credit Union. The road to recovery from this tragedy will take weeks, months and years. These funds will be there to support the Bott family not only in the coming days but through the coming years. There are many expenses that arise from a tragedy such as this that cannot be foreseen but with your generosity and support, we are confident the family will be able to weather the storm.”
It it said the parents were literally floored by the generosity expressed by strangers after the sisters’ farm accident. Roger Bott was described as needing to take a chair after he heard the news on Thursday evening. Even during the middle of the night, the Bott fundraiser has raised an additional $10,000, and has already reached $76,000 as of this publishing.
What do you think about the criticisms, and the response, to the Bott sisters’ farm accident?
[Image via Twitter]