Detroit/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on February 26, 2024
Man Saved After Falling Through Saginaw Bay Ice Amid Dispute with Airboat OperatorSource: Huron County Sheriff's Office

A chilling encounter on a frozen Michigan waterway nearly turned deadly last Friday, when a heated exchange between ice fishers escalated into a risky situation involving a man falling through the ice. Law enforcement officials reported that the near-drowning incident occurred after a man and a passenger in an airboat deliberately broke the ice around the group of anglers during a confrontation on Saginaw Bay.

The three victims, who were out on a canal ice fishing, found themselves in peril after an old grudge allegedly resurfaced. The airboat operator, identified by police as being from the same region of Sebewaing as the anglers, executed a maneuver that compromised the integrity of the ice, leading to one man plunging into the icy depths below, as reported by ABC12.

While two of the fishermen hastily scampered to safety, their companion was less fortunate and found himself struggling to stay afloat in water reported being around 8 feet deep. According to WNEM, he battled to keep his head above water amidst the weight of his soaked garments. His fellow anglers heroically managed to rescue him, subsequently pulling him to a patch of stable ice for safety.

Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson informed that the airboat party, after breaking the ice, casually left the scene, seemingly indifferent to the life-threatening plight their actions had triggered. In their haste to flee, the man who struggled for life into the water was left behind by the airboat driver and the passenger, "motored away", leaving him behind. The fisherman managed to avoid a trip to the hospital, despite the traumatic experience. "The other two fishermen reported they had to work very hard to get their companion to safe enough ice where they could pull him out of the water," Hanson added, as WNEM reported.

The Huron County Sheriff's Office has announced that this serious incident shall be reported to the Huron County Prosecutor's Office for the consideration of possible charges against the airboat driver. Attempts to reach the driver at his residence were unsuccessful, according to law enforcement statements provided by mlive.