(Beaver Dam) A man and his dog were rescued from the Crawfish River near Astico County Park Saturday morning. Personnel were called out to a stretch of the river between County Road T and County Road TT in the Dodge County Town of Elba at 10:23am.
Columbus Fire Public Information Officer Jerrod Fox says the dog chased geese onto the river about 20-feet in before crashing through the “very thin ice” and then the man fell in while trying to help his dog. The man was rescued by bystanders, but the dog struggled to pull itself out of the water, estimated at that point to be five-and-a-half feet deep.
Fox says the area was too heavily wooded for rescuers to get a boat where it was needed. Personnel tried throwing a rope, but the canine could not clinch its jaws tight enough, growing weaker and weaker in the extremely cold temperatures.
So instead, crews donned the water rescue suits they refer to as their “Gumby” and deployed extension ladders. One end of the ladder was on the shore, held down by emergency personnel displacing the weight. A firefighter then scaled the rungs of the ladder balanced over the river and lifted the dog out of the freezing water.
The pooch was taken to shore “down an assembly line” of rescuers, wrapped in turnout gear and handed over to staff from a local veterinarian clinic. In total, Fox says the man was in the water for approximately ten-to-15 minutes while the dog was in for 15-to-20 minutes. Both are said to be doing okay.
The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office and Lifestar Ambulance also responded to the scene. Fox says the story had a happy outcome because “the team did a great job.”
Images from Google Maps