Close Call: Nebraska Firefighter Rescues Ice Fisherman Who Fell Through the Ice

OUTDOORS

   12.28.20

Ice fishing season is just around the corner – if it hasn’t already started for some of you – but one very lucky man in Nebraska reminds us all why we need to tread carefully out on the ice.

Medics arrived just in time to save the individual, who remains nameless, but it was two joggers who first discovered the man frantically pleading for help in the icy water. Officials say he was roughly 30 yards from shore, desperately clinging to the ice shelf where he fell through on Holmes Lake.

The two joggers, Bryan Olesen and John Wooten, said they knew right away they needed to call 911 for help, but neither of them was carrying a cell phone with them during their run. So Wooten ran to flag someone down on a nearby main road. Fortunately, someone stopped and called 911. That same driver also happened to have a rope in the back of his truck, which Olesen and Wooten thought could possibly help.

“We’re trying to throw a rope about five times out to the guy, but we can’t get it to him,” Olesen said. “He was a good 30 to 40 yards out and we didn’t want to walk out there.”

The joggers told a local news station they distinctly recall what happened next.

“He’s getting nervous,” Olesen said. “He’s saying please call my mom. We’re saying you’re going to be okay, hang with us, just keep breathing. We felt just so helpless, because you couldn’t get the rope to him. We couldn’t get out there.”

Thankfully, however, a Lincoln Fire and Rescue team showed up moments later and saved the ice fisherman. LFR Chief Mueller attached a rescue line to his surface ice rescue suit and delicately made his way out to where the man had fallen through the ice. He was then able to pull the hard water angler to safety.

He was taken to the hospital in stable condition.

Let this serve as a reminder to stay safe and always take proper precautions when heading out on the ice.

Watch the joggers talk about their gripping experience here.




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