KENOSHA COUNTY - The Salem Lakes Fire Department and Kenosha sheriff’s deputies on Sunday, Dec. 20 responded to a pond east of Hooker Lake near the intersection of 236th Avenue and 80th Place for reports of a man that fell through the ice.
A deputy was the first to arrive at the scene and located a 57-year-old Salem Lakes man thrashing in the water about 75 yards from the shore. A bystander told the deputy that the man had been in the water for approximately 20 minutes and appeared to be getting weaker.
The deputy located a canoe at a nearby residence and made his way to the man on the ice. The deputy was attempting to coach the man to come to the ice’s edge to the canoe. The canoe then broke through the ice.
The deputy maneuvered the canoe to the man and was able to pull him into the canoe. Getting the man into the canoe took effort -- as the struggle in the cold water had left him nearly helpless and exhausted, according to the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department.
Once the man was safely in the canoe, the deputy attempted to return to shore. At that time, officials say the man’s medical condition caused him to panic. He began to move violently around the canoe and shifted his weight, which caused the canoe to capsize through the thin ice, sending the man and the deputy into the water.
The water was nearly six feet deep at this location.
The deputy swam to the edge of the ice and was able to crawl onto it. He then coached the man, who was now very panicked, to swim to the edge of the ice, and once there, kick his legs. This coaching was successful, and the man was able to push himself on the ice until Salem Lakes Fire Department arrived.
The deputy directed them to rescue the man first.
Rescue transported the man to a local hospital, where a full recovery is expected. The deputy did not sustain any injuries.
The sheriff’s department and local first responders would like to remind everyone that NONE of the ice in Kenosha County is safe for any outdoor activities.