On December 20, 2020, at 4:53 PM, the Salem Lakes Fire Department and Kenosha Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a pond east of Hooker Lake near the intersection of 236th Avenue and 80th Place. An area resident called 911 to report that a male fell through the ice and could not get out of the water.
Deputy Colin Coultrip was the first to arrive at the scene and located a 57-year-old Salem Lakes man thrashing in the water approximately 75 yards from the shore. A bystander told Deputy Coultrip that the male had been in the water for approximately 20 minutes and appeared to be getting weaker.
Deputy Coultrip located a canoe at a nearby residence and made his way to the man on the ice. Deputy Coultrip was attempting to coach the male to come to the ice’s edge to the canoe. The canoe then broke through the ice. Deputy Coultrip maneuvered the canoe to the man and was able to pull him into the canoe. Getting the man into the canoe took extraordinary effort as the struggle in the cold water had left him nearly helpless and exhausted.
Once the man was safely in the canoe, Deputy Coultrip attempted to return to shore. The man’s medical condition caused him to panic. He began to move violently around the canoe and shifted his weight, which caused the canoe to capsize through the thin ice sending the man and Deputy Coultrip into the water. The water was nearly 6 feet deep at this location.
Deputy Coultrip swam to the edge of the ice and was able to crawl onto it. He then coached the male, who was now very panicked, to swim to the edge of the ice, and once there, kick his legs. This coaching was successful, and the male was able to push himself on the ice until Salem Lakes Fire Department arrived. Deputy Coultrip directed them to rescue the male first. Deputy Coultrip crawled off the ice, cold, tired, and wet.
Rescue transported the male to a local hospital, where a full recovery is expected. Deputy Coultrip did not sustain any injuries.
The Sheriff’s Department and local first responders would like to remind everyone that NONE of the ice in Kenosha County is safe for any outdoor activities.
Please do not put yourself or first responders at risk. STAY OFF OF THE ICE IT IS NOT SAFE!