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Venezuelan migrants save Denver girls in icy lake

Venezuelan migrants save Denver girls in icy lake
Venezuelan migrants save Denver girls in icy lake 02:08

On the afternoon of Dec. 4 Jorge Barcena, Lorelis Rodriquez, and Rafael Gonzalez had just picked up one of their children from school in Denver's Montebello neighborhood when they decided to go for a stroll.

Left to right: Augustin Enriquez, 3-year-old Isabella, Rafael Gonzalez,  Lorelis Rodriquez and Jorge Barcena in Montbello CBS

They are Venezuelan immigrants who arrived in Denver in early September. That day in December they were on a walk, enjoying family time in Colorado.

"They were walking around the lake and they saw six little kids around 12 (years old) and they are filming themselves," said their friend and interpreter Augustin Enriquez.

The walk suddenly took a dark turn.

Augustin Enriquez

"They started to hear screaming," said Enriquez.

"Vimos que las ninas estaban entren el lago (We saw that the girls were entering the lake)," said Rodriguez.

Some of the girls they had seen walking around the lake decided to wander out onto the thin ice and fell in. Jorge and Rafael sprang into action. Jorge jumped in and started pushing the girls out. By the time he had finished he couldn't feel his lower body so Rafael had to fish him out with a branch he tore off a tree.

Jorge huddles near a fireplace to get warm after rescuing girls from an icy lake. Augustin Enriquez

They took the girls to the school to get warm and then left. Rafael and Jorge were hypothermic and had to warm up for a long time but they say it was worth it.

"Because somebody helped them once, so they tried to help to," said Enriquez.

Additional Resources

CBS News Colorado has reported on how officials from the Denver Fire Department say there's no telling how thin ice may be at this time of year. As sturdy as it may look, fire crews say it's important for the public to know they only have minutes to get you out before hypothermia sets in. Fire crews say the best thing to do if you or another person crashes into the water is to call 911 immediately.

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