Sophia LeBlanc, a 6-year-old girl is given Heroism Award for rescuing her mother and her siblings in a car accident that fell into the river. Sophia then climbed up an embankment to get help for her mother and sibling.
Mom, Candice Hicks was driving from Amherst to Oxford, N.S which is about a 30-minute ride with her three kids, to pick up her dad. She was close to her destination but unluckily, her car hit a rut in the road that made her lose control of the car. Her mini-van with three kids aboard fell into the river.
Soaking wet in the car and hanging upside down by her seatbelt, Candice Hicks realized she was in great trouble had no idea how to rescue her children. She never imagined that the help she urgently needed would come from her 6-year-old daughter, Sophia.
“We hit the guardrail, it made a really big noise. I think we all still all have that noise in our head and then we fell into the river. I just remembered we were going into the water, so yeah it was really scary,” Hicks said.
The car eventually started floating in the river with her 6-year-old daughter Sophia, 4-year-old son Ethan, and 2-year-old daughter Elise.
All of the family members hung upside down covered in glass and blood. At last, Hicks succeeded to free herself from her seatbelt despite severe pain in her arm. She then managed to get out of the van and a few moments later, her eldest daughter Sophia, managed to get out as well. But the other two kids were still fastened inside and Ethan wasn’t making any noise.
“I could see he was just hanging there unconscious. So I tried to get Elise out because she was closest to me,” said Hicks.
Hicks tried to rescue her other kids but couldn’t do so as her wrist was broken. So she asked Sophia to get them out and luckily she succeeded in dragging her youngest sibling Elise out of the car but the 4-year-old Ethan was still stuck in there. The bank along the river was very steep so no one driving by could see the crashed car and that panicked Hicks.
She didn’t know what to do because she didn’t want to leave Sophia standing there in the water and her son motionless down by the river. So she asked Sophia to climb up and wave down any passing vehicle to get help.
“I was a little afraid but not that afraid. I knew I could do, I could do something safely and save my family,” Sophia said.
She succeeded to get to the top and waved down a passing truck. In the meantime, Anthony Terry, who resided nearby, had witnessed the accident and called 911 and then rushed down to rescue the family.
“I didn’t think anybody was going to make it out of there,” said Terry. “They were lucky, really lucky.”
Terry with the help of a knife cut Ethan free and soon the whole family was in an ambulance on their way to the hospital. Ethan reacquired consciousness in the ambulance. Apart from some wounds and bruises, the kids were all fine while Hicks’s arm had been broken and she had to have metal plates surgically implanted.
A girl is given Heroism Award
RCMP was some of the first emergency teams on the incident and were inspired by how brave Sophia was, so they decided to present her an Act of Heroism Award.
Sophia was given the award in a small ceremony at the RCMP detachment in Amherst. Staff Sgt. Craig Learning presented the award.
“I thought because I was so brave, I thought I would get something a little better,” said Sophia.
So RCMP decided to give Sophia and her siblings some toys.