Fishermen help save strangers who fell through Lake Delavan ice

Posted at 10:22 PM, Feb 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-09 23:38:17-05

Two fishermen helped save two strangers when they heard them fall through the ice on Lake Delavan this week.

Police say an ATV went in the water Tuesday late morning.  Witnesses heard the ice crack and then screams, but couldn't see what happened because of dense fog.  They were ice fishing about a quarter of a mile away from the accident.

"The guy said something about how he didn't want to go any farther.  He was worried about falling in, and we could hear that.  And we could hear the four wheeler turn around, and then we could hear the four wheeler go through, and then we could hear them start screaming for help," Jim Wiza said.

Andy Baack gave the 911 operator directions while Jim Wiza found rope and buckets before running out on the ice.

"Every time they would scream I'd run a little farther," Wiza said.

"That was a lot of anxiety.  I was walking, pacing all over the place," Andy Baack said.

They saw one man on his back and made eye contact with the other about 30 yards away.  Jim said risking his life was the only option. 

"I couldn't get the bucket all the way to them because I was already starting to sink," Wiza said.

Rescue workers arrived minutes later and pulled both men out alive.

"I'm just glad everything was okay...that would have been horrible if they would have not made it," said Baack.

"It's just something that you do. It's not something you think about," said Wiza.

Police also commend the officers and firefighters who helped save the lives of the 31 and 66-year-old men. 

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