A dog that fell through the ice on Lake Erie near Brownstown Township, Michigan, and the man who attempted to save it were both rescued in dramatic fashion from the freezing water, with a rescuer falling through the ice, too. WDIV-TV has the report on the Thursday afternoon incident:
Jim Swayze was walking his 11-year-old Walker Coonhound named Bart when the dog wandered out onto the ice and fell in, WDIV reported. The dog’s front paws initially kept it from sinking.
“I tried to walk around to him and it was just too deep, and I couldn’t get to him,” Swayze told WDIV.
Swayze called 911 and then phoned his cousin, Lance Eicher, who showed up first, wearing waders. Eicher walked across the ice until he, too, fell into the frigid water up to his waist. He reached the dog and held it as it sat atop the ice. While waiting for help, Eicher rubbed the dog to keep it warm. “I was trying to rub him and get some blood flowing through his body,” he said.
A rescue crew arrived with a boat to pull both man and dog over the ice and to safety. As you see in the video, halfway to shore, the rescuer also fell through the ice but was quickly pulled to safety.
“I just wasn’t thinking,” Eicher told WDIV. “I just wanted to try to rescue the friend of the family. It broke and I fell in, and I was probably about 3 and 1/2-feet deep…
“I kind of looked and said, what if this was my dog? What if I was in the same situation? I would hope somebody would try to do the same thing.”
WDIV reported that the dog had spent 1 1/2 hours in the lake. Animal control officials said the dog was cold but not seriously hurt. It was unknown how long Eicher stood in the freezing water, but he looked fine as he walked away from the scene carrying the dog, his waders helping to protect him against the freezing water.
Click here to see 6 1/2-minute raw video of the rescue.