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20 years later, Christmas 'miracle' is remembered

20 years later, Christmas 'miracle' is remembered

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FARGO (AP) - Alvaro Garza Jr., still remembers the day 20 years ago when he was saved from the Red River.

The 11-year-old boy became known as a Christmas miracle after he survived 45 minutes in the icy water.

Garza, now 31, said he tells his four children to respect the water and not take chances like the one he took after three companions dared him to venture on the ice to claim a dead squirrel for its tail.

Rescuers arrived a few minutes after Garza went in the Red River on Dec. 4, 1987, but it took longer for police and firefighters to find his body deep under the ice.

Steve Kennedy, a rookie officer with the Moorhead, Minn., Police Department at the time, said after Garza was found, "everybody grabbed him, and then it was just a mad rush for shore and the ambulance, and away he went," Kennedy said.

The boy, whose core body temperature had dropped to 77 degrees, was hooked to a heart-lung machine.

"They were able to take his blood and warm it up and put it right back in his body," said Roberta Young, a registered nurse at MeritCare Hospital in Fargo.

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