3-year-old’s survival called miraculous after boating accident killed his grandparents

3-Year-Old’s Survival Called Miraculous After Boating Accident Killed His Grandparents

Grandparents Martha “Marty” Illick and Terrence Dinnan took their grandson for a boat ride on Lewis Creek, unfortunately, only one of the three passengers on the vessel would survive the outing.

The Vermont couple had made it their mission to conserve the very creek that took their lives. Despite the deadly circumstances, their 3-year-old grandson survived.

Vermont Police Identified Martha ‘Marty’ Illick and Terrence Dinnan as the Two Victims of a Boating Accident After Their Vessel Capsized.

3-year-old’s survival called miraculous after boating accident killed his grandparents
Martha “Marty” Illick / Facebook

Martha “Marty” Illick, 70, and Terrence Dinnan, 71, were identified by Vermont police as the two victims of the boating accident. In a press release, authorities said that their 3-year-old grandson had also been on the boat but that he had survived the incident.

Illick and Dinnan were residents of Charlotte, Vermont where their bodies were discovered in Lewis Creek.

3-year-old’s survival called miraculous after boating accident killed his grandparents
Martha “Marty” Illick / Facebook

Police were alerted to a possible drowning after fishers on the creek found two bodies in the water at about 12:30 PM.

The Vermont State Police, Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services, and the Ferrisburgh Volunteer Fire Department all responded to the call only to discover that both victims were deceased. The first responders then realized that a young child was also missing.

3-year-old’s survival called miraculous after boating accident killed his grandparents
Martha “Marty” Illick / Facebook

A search was immediately launched for the missing child. He was later found, after more than an hour, inside a vehicle at the nearby home of his grandparents, police said.

As investigators examined the scene, they determined that all three had been victims of the capsized boat. For unknown reasons, all had ended up in the water. Thankfully, the little one was wearing a life vest which saved his life.

3-year-old’s survival called miraculous after boating accident killed his grandparents
Lewis Creek Association / Facebook

Authorities suspect the toddler floated to shore and made his way to the vehicle he had arrived and was subsequently found inside. He was later reunited with his parents.

The bodies of Illick and Dinnan were found without life vests on their bodies. “Rescue crews recovered the bodies of the adults from the water a short distance downstream of the capsized boat,” the release states.

Posted by Lewis Creek Association on Friday, December 11, 2020

While the suspected cause of death for the grandparents is drowning, their bodies have been transported to a Medical Examiner in Burlington, Vermont for autopsy.

The incident, which is still under active investigation, seeks to determine how long the bodies were in the water before they were discovered and why the boat they were on capsized.

The victims left a legacy, however, with many loved ones paying tribute to their memory following their unfortunate deaths.

Andrea Morgante, who was first introduced to the pair in the late 1970s along Lewis Creek, told CBS affiliate WCAX that Marty and Terrence “spent their lives with the creek” and were well-known environmentalists in their community.

“They really understood the magic of Lewis Creek,” Morgante told WCAX. “It is a really magical place and they just enhanced the magic.”

Posted by Lewis Creek Association on Friday, August 28, 2020

Morgante and Illick first bonded over their love for the creek which motivated the pair to form the Lewis Creek Association. Illick was the director of the association, the outlet reported.

Another family friend, Steve Costello also told the WCAX that the deceased were passionate about the environment and wildlife. The couple would often share their observations about Lewis Creek’s natural splendor with others.

“Her legacy is one of great strength, but it’s also one of caring and concern for her fellow Vermonters and our environment at large,” explained Costello.

Illick’s passion for the environment was not only noticed by acquaintances. In 2017, she was awarded the Green Mountain Power’s Zetterstrom Environmental Award by the Department of Conservation.

“If she got a decision on a regulatory issue or something related to water quality that she disagreed with, she didn’t just appeal it or complain about it,” Costello said. “She would start researching to find new data that could overturn that decision.”

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Marty Illick, our dear friend, most loving and inspiring leader has died tragically in an accident on Lewis Creek. She…

Posted by Lewis Creek Association on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The Lewis Creek Association shared their own reflections of Illick’s life after learning the news of her death, writing, “Our dear friend, most loving and inspiring leader has died tragically in an accident on Lewis Creek.”

“She was a founding co-creator of Lewis Creek Association, and devoted to sharing her love of the creek, its beauty, the woods, flowers, animals and magic by bringing everyone to the table,” the organization added.

As the community reels from the loss of two of its most beloved, we hope they can find solace in knowing the couple managed to keep their grandson safe and that they died in a place they held so dearly. It is truly miraculous that a child so young could survive such an ordeal.

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