The question everyone is asking themselves is how did this accident happen? Several people witnessed the accident at Falls Park but police say each person's account was little bit different.
The call came in just after 6 o'clock on Thursday night. A boy had fallen into the churning water below the falls of the Big Sioux near the Falls Overlook Cafe.
"Following that a young lady who turned out to be his sister jumped in after him trying to save him and there was a male who jumped in to try to save the two of them." Said Sioux Falls Fire Chief Jim Sideras.
The fire chief identified the two heroes as 16-year old Madison Wallace of Vermillion and 28-year old Lyle Eagletail of Sioux Falls. Somehow these two were able to get 6-year old Garrett Wallace to safety even as the river swept them under.
Other witnesses and rescue crews did all they could but their efforts were stalled due to the thick ice, the swift current, and the thick layer of foam. Sioux Falls Fire Rescue used fans and fire hoses to break up the foam, which in some places was more than 10 feet deep.
"Between 11 and 1 o'clock we were able to move enough foam out to get a boat in and search in that area right below where they went in at." Said Chief Sideras.
By 2am Friday, the window for a positive outcome had expired and the rescue became a recovery. All through the night ice limited the efforts. Crews used back hoes and even a special crane was brought in to help.
"So they'll be breaking up the ice and the backhoes that were brought in will scoop the ice out and remove the ice so that we can get divers in and work under that ice." Said Chief Sideras.
We still don't know and may never know how this young boy was rescued from the river. But Chief Sideras and everyone else who watched this tragedy unfold hopes these two heroes did not die in vain.
"There are differing stories one was that he just popped up in kind of scrambled up another was that he was pushed up I don't know which happened but I'd like to think that someone saved him and helped him survive." Said Chief Sideras.
Madison Wallace's body was pulled from the river around 2pm on Friday. Chief Sideras says they are still looking for Lyle Eagletail's body but will suspend the search during the overnight hours. If crews don't find Eagle tail they will stop at 8pm and reconvene at 8am on Saturday.
Chief Sideras says this tragedy unfortunately showcase the beautiful, but dangerous nature of the falls.
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