Arizona teens cling onto tree in frozen lake after getting stuck

SHOW LOW, AZ - Two Arizona teens who walked onto a frozen lake were forced to hang onto a dead tree after the ice underneath them started cracking.

"It was cracking behind us so we were trying to hurry and get across so we could just get back. If we would have went back, it would have broke underneath us so that's why we jumped on the tree," said 14-year-old Christian Van Aller.

Van Aller and 15-year-old Alex Orton were walking to pick up Orton's 13-year-old brother, Wesley, when they started walking across the lake Wednesday afternoon in Show Low.

When the ice started cracking, they grabbed onto a tree sticking through the ice but Van Aller said it also started to crack.

"I was stepping on it and it broke so my left foot went in and another branch broke and that was near the bottom and his left foot went in," said Van Aller.

Wesley used his cell phone to call for help.

When Van Aller's mother, Bonnie, showed up she said she panicked.

"I went out there and I went ‘oh my gosh!' I just kept praying to keep that tree strong because I just kept thinking that if that tree breaks - they're gone because we'll never get them back," said Bonnie.

When rescue crews showed up, they used a boat to save the boys who hung onto the tree for four hours in below freezing temperatures.

"As soon as the sun set we started getting really cold by the time they rescued us our hands and feet were just about ready to fall off," said Van Aller.

Print this article Back to Top