SUGAR HOUSE, Utah, Dec. 24, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Nico San Miguel’s original plan was to spend a low-key Christmas Eve afternoon chilling around the empty pond at Sugar House Park.
The teen’s next plan was to walk across the solid parts of the muddy pond bed. Then something happened that was never part of the plan.
“I got stuck in the pond,” the 14-year-old said, in the calm moments after a very public rescue by crews from the Salt Lake City Fire Department and Paramedics.
How did the whole experience make him feel?
“Very, very stupid,” Nico said, laughing at himself.
The excitement began at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
“I was walking around and my foot started sinking, and I couldn’t get it out,” Nico said.
“I actually went the safe way and started looking for the hard spots, and so that’s when I started seeing my foot sinking in, so I started to come toward the spot where I got stuck, and I just got my entire foot stuck.”
A concerned bystander on the shore noticed the teen’s predicament and called 911. Bob Silverthorne, the paramedic captain for SLCFD Engine 3, wasn’t shocked to get the call.
“We are usually destined to get someone who tries to traverse the empty Sugar House Pond, and today was our day,” Silverthorne said. “So we helped this gentleman get out with the help of our paramedics, a couple shovels and a couple backboards, just leap-frogging the backboards to make a bridge out of the pond.”
Silverthorne said using backboards to cross a mud pit is problematic because of the suction created.
“You have a lot of challenges to overcome, but like I said, this isn’t our first rodeo,” he said. “If it were worse, we have other resources we could bring in. But we were able to mitigate this.
“A lot of people think it’s just mud, and they shouldn’t have a problem, but when they get deeper, it can become quicksand to where they get stuck. And this gentleman was just below his knees. and he couldn’t self extricate, so we had to get him out.”
Hypothermia is a risk when a victim is sunk into cold mud, Silverthorne said.
“His core temperature could still get decreased because of the cold temperature.”
Silverthorne advised people to use caution.
“Just be safe, and if the pond’s closed, don’t try to walk across it,” he said. “And merry Christmas.”
Back on solid ground and unhurt, Nico described his mood as “very, very happy.” He also had a couple words for his rescuers.
“Thank you,” he said in a booming voice, laughing.
And, Nico added, this was the “last time I’m ever doing this. Maybe.”