Victims, ages 4 and 5, identified in colony drowning

Posted at 1:49 PM, Feb 05, 2015

GREAT FALLS – The two boys who died after falling through ice on a sewage holding pond in the Pleasant Valley Colony on Wednesday afternoon have been identified.

According to colony secretary Peter Waldner, the victims are Arnie P. Wipf, 4 year old, and Adrian T. Wipf, 5.

Waldner said, “It’s unfortunate that those things happen, but they happen. They will pull one on ya’ once in awhile. They’re kids. They’re five-year olds.”

Jonathan M. Wipf, age 5, survived the accident after trying to help the two victims.

Waldner says Jonathan tried to provide help “because he was the older of the three.”

Unfortunately, Jonathan was unsuccessful and needed assistance out of the pond as well.

Jonathan’s mother went in and pulled him out, but then also needed assistance from another adult nearby.

Waldner said on Thursday morning, “Jonathan is fine, but still in hospital talking and responding. He should be released sometime today we hope.”

He added, “You know how it is, they are kids. I’m sure teachers are counseling them today, and they have special teachers over there to take care of them, talk to them, and explain to them (what happened), and why they shouldn’t be doing that stuff.”

Waldner says the colony is buying materials for the funeral, which is scheduled for Friday morning.

The Cascade County Sheriff’s Office released the following information on Thursday morning:

On 2-4-15 at 1537 hours, 911 received a call from a male caller reporting 3 young males had fallen in the sewage lagoon near 734 McCoy Road Southeast of Great Falls. The caller advised that all three had been pulled from the lagoon.

CPR was started by the rescuers. Sheriff’s Deputies, Belt Rural Fire as well as Medic 2 &3 responded.

The children were transported to Benefis Hospital, one by private vehicle prior to Emergency Responders arrival and two by ground ambulance, efforts were made to raise the children’s body temperature and revive them. Two of the three children were pronounced dead at the Hospital, one four years of age one five years of age, victims of accidental drowning. The third victim, 5 years of age, was transferred to Benefis ICU.