Man Rescued After Minivan Plunges Into Lake

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The reality of warm weather sinks in after a fisherman’s van goes through the ice nearly taking him under.

It’s a harsh reminder that winter is almost over as the ice starts to thin out and becomes a threat to anything that crosses it.

For life-long fisherman Bill Weckman, having your vehicle fall through the ice is a scary thing to experience, but he said it’s more embarrassing than anything.

“It was shocking to find six inches of ice where I went through,” said Weckman.

As he looked out at his 2004 Kia Sedona, Weckman knows the situation could have been worse.

“I was startled when water came over the windshield. That got my attention,”Weckman said.

He remembers his car bouncing off the bottom of the lake and bobbing in the water.

Weckman called 911 right away, and lucky for him, his neighbor just happened to be walking the dog and came to the rescue.

“It doesn’t look like anybody could get out,” said Pamela Fritch-Hieb, who walked by seconds after the accident. “I went up to the lake and I kind of looked to see if there was anybody in there then I saw somebody waving.”

It only took a few minutes for emergency crews to get to the lake.

When they arrived, Weckman had managed to get out of the car and climb on to the roof.

“They put a ladder up to the car, and that’s all they did,” said Weckman, explaining his rescue. “Just stretched a ladder, stood on it so I wouldn’t fall off of it, and I just walked off to the ice and that was that.”

It turns out what he thought was six inches of good ice was only about two, and natural flowing water from a nearby dam made the ice thinner.

“Be warned it might be over for the year in some of these places where there is any current what so ever,” said Weckman.

He says it’s never a good sign when you’re the last guy out on the lake, especially on a 50 degree spring day.

“I knew that wasn’t going to be a dangerous situation, just an embarrassing one,” Weckman said.

His story serves as a good reminder that safety is more important than reeling in the final fish of the season.

“Fish as long as you can, but don’t take anything for granted,” he smiled.

Weckman says Tuesday’s accident was a fluke, and in his 60 years of ice fishing nothing this serious has ever happened to him.

This is the first vehicle that’s fallen through the lake this spring, and rescue squads can only hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

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