Teens Clinically Dead For Six Hours After Boat Capsized In Icy Lake

by : Emily Brown on : 06 Dec 2019 07:57
Teens Clinically Dead For Six Hours After Boat Capsized In Icy LakeBBC

A new BBC documentary details how seven children were brought back from the dead after their boat capsized on a school trip. 

Survivors Katrine and Casper went on the trip in 2011, where, along with a group of other children, they got on to a boat in a Danish fjord.


The water was just two degrees Celsius and the children were hundreds of metres from land when their boat overturned and they all plunged into the water.

Children brought back from the dead after falling into icy waterBBC

In the documentary Life after death: How seven kids came back from the dead, which is available to watch online, the survivors speak about how paramedics were able to bring the group back to life after their hearts stopped beating by ‘warming their blood’.

Katrine, who was 16 at the time of the incident, broke down in tears as she returned to the fjord for the documentary and recalled the terrifying incident.


She commented:

I remember now. It was so freezing – it was so cold. There was ice on the water.

Survivor of boat accident cries as she returns to sceneBBC

Casper explained it was very windy on the day they went out on to the water, and when the boat flipped everyone fell out into the freezing depths.


Katrine continued:

When I came up from the water, the nightmare began. Everybody was screaming and everything was unreal.

You could just see the panic. The teacher said that we had to swim in, because otherwise we would die.

Casper couldn’t swim and, although one of his friends tried to help him, before long the temperature of the water caused his heart to stop, meaning he was clinically dead.

Hear the survivor’s incredible stories here:


Katrine, who is now in her mid-20s, managed to make it to shore, though found herself lost in a woodland that lined the water. She lacked strength in her legs and believed she was going to die.

In the meantime, however, another person on the trip had run more than a mile to get help. As Katrine made her way through the woods, she spotted a rescuer and started screaming.

By the time the medics arrived, seven of the children who fell in the water had been dead for over two hours.


Dr Steen Barnung, who was part of the rescue team, explained:

We had landed with our helicopter. This man came running against us and he repeated the same words: ‘They’re all dead, they’re all dead, they’re all dead.’

Man who was brought back to life after falling in icy waterBBC

The schoolkids were saved from the water and taken to hospital, where they were described as feeling ‘ice cold’. Dr Michael Jaegar Wansche helped care for the youngsters and explained there is a chance of resuscitation when the body is as cold as the children’s were.

He said:

They are dead, but they’re not really dead. We still had a chance.

Water where children's boat capsizedBBC

The extreme hypothermia that caused the children’s hearts to stop also slowed their metabolism, meaning their organs started working when warmed up. Medics aimed to warm the blood one degree per 10 minutes and miraculously, six hours after the accident, all of the children’s hearts started beating again.

Incredibly, the survivors had not suffered any brain damage despite the fact their hearts stopped beating. The rescue marks the largest number of hypothermic victims that have been resuscitated at one time with 100% survival.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Film and TV, BBC, Death, Denmark


BBC Stories/YouTube
  1. BBC Stories/YouTube

    How seven kids came back from the dead - BBC Stories