Officers team up to pull man from frigid waters
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
Law enforcement officers joined together to rescue a 64-year-old Grayling man on Saturday while he was testing the waters, attempting some of the first ice fishing of the season.
Crawford County Sheriff Kirk A. Wakefield said that Crawford County Central Dispatch received a 911 emergency call at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17, about a man who had just fallen through the ice while fishing on Howes Lake in Frederic Township.
The call was made by an employee at the Shawono Center juvenile detention facility. The small inland lake is visible from the detention center.
Deputy Chase Barnett was already in the immediate area of M-72 and Howes Lake Road, having been sent there earlier on a stray dog complaint.
Barnett arrived on scene within minutes and immediately took steps to rescue the man. He was able to extend a pole with an apparatus on the end to catch stray dogs, which he was given just before going out on patrol, to leverage the man up on the edge of the ice.
Deputy Ryan Finstrom and Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer John Huspen arrived shortly after the 911 call was made to also assist in the rescue.
A rope was tossed to the man, and the three officers were the able to pull him safely out of the water.
Sgt. Shon Chmielewski, from the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, said the officers had to balance themselves on the already fragile ice, which was only two to three inches thick, to get the man on shore.
“If we would have had all four guys in the water, that would have had made the rescue operation that much more complex, and who knows what could have happened,” Chmielewski said.
The man, who was fishing alone and was the only person on the lake, was treated by medical personnel who were at the scene. He was later transported to Grayling Munson Healthcare Hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia, and is expected to be fine.
Chmielewski urged local residents to inform people they know regarding their whereabouts when taking part in outdoor activities, especially when conditions could become hazardous.
Deputies were assisted by the Michigan State Police, the Grayling Department of Public Safety, the Grayling and Frederic Fire Departments and the Mobile Medical Response (MMR) ambulance service.