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Father, 3-Year-Old Recovering After Falling Through Ice

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SAUK CENTRE (WCCO) — A man and his 3-year-old son are recovering after an ATV they were traveling on broke through the ice on a lake north of Sauk Centre, Minn. Now, two teenage girls are being heralded for helping them.

On Thursday at 12:52 p.m., Todd County and Sauk Centre authorities responded to the report of an ATV going through the ice.

According to authorities, the ATV was driven by Travis John Ritter, 30, of Sauk Centre. He and his son, Gabriel Michael Ritter, went through the ice in the ATV into the freezing water.

“I just grabbed (my son) and threw him on to the ice, and he was sitting there, of course, scared out of his mind crying,” said Travis.

Meanwhile, two young teenage witnesses saw the ATV go through the ice and called 911. One of the girls, named Mercedes Eke, called 911 while Kali Arnzen skated to the west side of the lake to help the son.

At first, Kali gave Travis her skates for him to try to grip the ice, but that didn’t work. So, she then gave him one end of her jacket and held onto the other end.

“I told her dig that in, and she dug that other skate in and held on to the jacket. Then, I pulled up, grabbed my son and walked back to shore,” said Travis.

Travis and Gabriel were treated at the scene and taken to St. Michael Hospital. There were no apparent injuries.

“If they wouldn’t have been there, I have no idea what would have happened. So, it’s just a godsend that they were there,” said Travis.

The ATV will be recovered at a later date.

The Todd County Sheriff’s Office has issued a dangerous ice warning for all lakes in Todd County, and is asking that no one operate ATVs and motor vehicles on area lakes until ice conditions improve with colder weather.

Images From: Bryan Zollman and Randy Olson; Sauk Centre Herald

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