Christopher and Joseph Novecosky

Joseph Novecosky
Christopher Novecosky

Seven-year-old Ava and 6-year-old Evelyn Novecosky were playing outside on the afternoon of Nov. 4, when they fell through thin ice covering Humboldt Lake outside their home near Humboldt, Saskatchewan. About 300 feet from shore, they struggled in the 35-degree water that was about 15 feet deep. Their brother on shore alerted adult family members, including the girls’ uncle Christopher Novecosky, 38, and cousin Joseph Novecosky, 28, both Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, tradesmen. Christopher and Joseph ran out of the house onto the ice along with the girls’ mother, who said she could hear the ice cracking under their feet. The three adults approached the girls as the ice gave way and both men plunged into the icy water. Both men attempted to push an unconscious Ava onto the ice but were unsuccessful. The mother then fell through the ice. Christopher grasped Evelyn and tried to lift her out of the water onto the ice but was unsuccessful. Joseph also tried and failed to lift Ava out. Within two minutes, both men were exhausted from their efforts and the freezing water. Christopher let go of Evelyn and he submerged. Joseph handed Ava to her mother and he, too, submerged. The girls’ father then pushed a kayak filled with life jackets across the ice and into the water. The mother grasped the kayak while holding Ava. Evelyn swam to the kayak and took a life jacket, when she floated away until arriving firefighters used ropes and ice-rescue suits to pull her out along with her mother. Firefighters retrieved Ava who was pronounced dead at the scene. Evelyn and her mother suffered from hypothermia but recovered. A dive team found the bodies of Christopher and Joseph the next day. They had drowned.