His granddaughter had run after their dogs onto the ice sheet, which gave way plunging her into the freezing water.
A man lost his life after jumping into a frozen pond to save his granddaughter near Charleston. The tragic incident happened as two sisters, 8, and 10, walked their six dogs on Saturday morning. Two puppies ran away from them towards the frozen pond and the 10-year-old girl, Ma’Lyiah White, followed it assuming the block of ice was thick enough, recalled family members. The ice wasn't and it collapsed, plunging the 10-year-old into freezing water. Bailey, the eight-year-old shouted for help and ran towards the house. Carlos Serafin, 31, rushed to the pond and jumped in to save the girl. Serafin's husband, Bill Croy, said they were both legal guardians of the girls, who are the biological children of Croy’s oldest adopted daughter. Croy said his instinctive rush to save her says so much about the person he was. “He didn’t think, he just did — and it showed until his last breath,” he told NBC News.
Carlos had jumped into the pond with a broomstick in an effort to save Ma’Lyiah but she was already under the ice and he also got sucked under. Bill busted the ice to try and get to them both but couldn’t find them. The dogs were also in the pond trying to rescue all. He then used a long dog leash to throw to Serafin in the hope they could pull him in but he couldn't reach it. “I threw it at him and he said, ‘I can’t see it anymore, I can’t see it, Bill!’” a tearful Croy, 47, recounted. “I could just see him going under and I just couldn’t get to them.” The family dialed 911 and rescuers with the Lincoln Fire Protection District and Charleston Fire Department rushed to the scene. They pulled out the girl at 8:06 a.m. and the man at 8:15 a.m., before rushing them to the hospital, said officials.
Carlos Serafin passed away at the hospital while the doctors managed to get the girl's heart pumping. She remains in critical condition, according to authorities. Ma’Lyiah is not showing any brain activity only seizures. Her heart and lungs are working, said the family. Doctors tried to revive Serafin as well but they said he was under the ice for too long and was not able to be revived. "Ma'Liyah still has brain swelling. That is the bad news. Some better news her lungs improved more over Night. They have taken her off the medication that kept her paralyzed. She is still on medication for brain seizures though. Her heart, liver, and kidneys have all improved. She is not conscious yet but has a gag reflex now which is good. These are all positive signs," said Amanda Beals, Croy’s sister.
The family also confirmed that one of the family’s dogs also died in the ice break. Addressing the tragedy, Charleston Fire Chief Steve Bennett said that frozen bonds often pose life-threatening dangers because most people are unaware of the dangers. He urged others to not step on the frozen pond. “People, unless they have any experience or training, don’t really think about. They just see ice and they think, ‘Oh, it’s thick enough,’” said Bennett. “A good rule of thumb is if it’s less than four inches, you probably ought to stay off of it.”
Family members said Serafin was in bed when he heard the commotion and immediately ran to help. “That’s what made him Carlos. He was very spontaneous in life,” said Amanda Beals, Croy’s sister. "Carlos definitely, he died a hero, you know that’s just who he is. He would do anything for his girls, he would do anything for his dogs, he would do anything for anybody,” she said, reported WCIA. “It truly, truly showed until his last breath. He didn’t have a care in the world. He just wanted to take care of others.” Serafin is a former restaurant manager and was a stay-at-home dad. Amanda Beals started a GoFundMe campaign to help fund the medical and funeral expenses of the family. The campaign has raised over $35,000 of its $50,000 goal.