Local business owner helps rescue man who fell through thin ice on pond

STEPHENTOWN, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A man and his dog fell through the thin ice of a pond in Stephentown on Friday.

Around 2:30 p.m., the man and his dog were going for a walk when he suddenly fell through the ice. Luckily, a nearby business heard him call for help.

“He was to his elbows in water, and he was cold,” Frank Zwack said. “He couldn’t move his hands no longer, and he just kept saying, ‘Get me out. Get me out.’”

Zwack owns Zwack Industries, a business not far from the pond. When he heard the man’s plea for help, he called other emergency crews and jumped into the freezing water with a rope.

“I had a coil wrapped around his arm and just bring it in and tried to pull him out,” Zwack said. “We got him out of the water, but then the ice just broke out and he was just too tired.”

Zwack said the dog, believed to be a young Weimaraner, played a big role in helping with the rescue. He said the rope didn’t work, and they had to extend a ladder to the man.

“Considering that the temperature out here is about 33 degrees and the water is just above freezing, I would say he would only have a few more minutes before he succumbed to hypothermia,” Stephentown Asst. Fire Chief Rik McClave said.

The chief said the man may have been in the water for close to 20 minutes. The rescue itself took about 10 minutes, but the incident could’ve taken a turn for the worse had someone not heard him yell.

“He’s lucky that someone heard him,” Zwack said. “He’s lucky we identified it and could respond very quickly.”

The dog is okay, and the man was taken to Berkshire Medical Center where he is also expected to be okay.

Rescue crews remind everyone to never walk through ponds if the ice appears thin.

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