Near FREMONT, Neb. (KPTM) - Firefighters from several departments were called to a water rescue call Sunday afternoon.
A Fremont boy gets stranded in the middle of a river this morning after testing his fishing waders. Fox 42's Melina Matthes, who had exclusive coverage of the Valley Fire Department ice rescue training one week ago spoke with his rescuers about the importance of learning these lifesaving skills.
"This is what you practice for, so when the time comes we're ready to go," Fire Chief Aaron Ueckert says.
After learning how to rescue someone from an icy lake only a week ago, Valley firefighters are put to the test. Firefighter Natalia Stanzel says it was an intense situation, "I was just thinking oh my God, how fast is this current going right now?"
A few minutes after noon, firefighters were called to the Platte River near Big Island Road in Fremont. A 12-year-old boy was stranded on a sand bar after the ice he was fishing on broke away from the bank. "The juvenile said that he was out on the ice for about 20 minutes and then he looked around and it was all gone, it was just the channel from the river," Ueckert says.
Authorities say the boy waded into the water just a few feet. That's when he noticed the current change and decided to wait it out on a sand bar. "I was thinking what the heck is he doing out there and how did he get out there," Stanzel says.
Because the current of the river was so strong, firefighters had to use a boat to pull him to safety. "I mean we had probably 7 people holding the rope and so we just have to keep pulling on that boat because at this point we weren't hooking onto a person we were hooking up to the boat because the current was taking the boat downstream, so if the motor were to die, the rope pulls it back in," Stanzel says.
She says it was an intense situation that she's glad she was prepared for. "It's a perfect example, not even a week later of training…we have to go out and do this kind of situation."
A scenario she hopes won't happen again this winter. "Do not judge the ice. We're told never to judge the ice by the appearance and you just need to be careful and wear a life jacket if you actually do want to go out there, but it is getting warmer and ice is starting to melt, so you just need to be cautious when you're out there," Stanzel says.
Authorities were able to pull the boy safely from the water. He was not injured.
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