20-year-old rescued from lake
Published: April 5, 2007 | 5924th good news item since 2003
Daniel Cobb, 20, of Allendale had hoped to get a better look at the sunset early Thursday night by venturing out on the ice on Lake Michigan with two others at Grand Haven City Beach; instead, he found out the hard way that ice in mid-March is unstable.
Cobb fell 15 feet into Lake Michigan when the ice gave way and had to be rescued from an ice floe by Grand Haven Department of Public Safety officers. Although Cobb was not injured, officials said he is fortunate the incident happened while there still was light and one of his companions had a cell phone to call for help.
“The water temperature is just above freezing,” said public safety Lt. Mark Reiss. “By the time we got there, he was beginning to lose it on that ice floe. He was having a difficult time hanging on. With water temperatures like that, you have only three or four minutes to survive in the water.”
The incident occurred at 6:36 p.m. as Cobb and two women walked out on ice about quarter of a mile from off the city beach to view the sunset. As Cobb was standing on the edge of a 15-foot drop to the water, the ice let go. Once in the water, Cobb was unable to climb out and instead swam to a nearby ice floe, on which he pulled himself up.
One of the women called Central Dispatch and the public safety department responded with Mustang cold water outfits, floatation devices and ropes. Reiss said an officer wearing the cold water outfit was able to swim to the ice floe and provide Cobb with a roped floatation device. Cobb donned the floatation device, re-entered the water and was pulled to safety by other officers. He was not injured but was examined for hypothermia.
Reiss said the incident graphically shows the dangers of venturing out on the ice.
“I fell through several times myself getting out there,” he said. “It is very unstable and unpredictable.”
Reiss said the victim also was fortunate the public safety department has the proper equipment for ice rescues. He noted the department purchased in 2004 $40,000 worth of cold water rescue equipment through private donations.
He said the equipment has proven its worth on four separate occasions.
“This is as good a time as any to express gratitude to the community for the equipment,” he said. “It makes all the difference.”