Fisherman rescued after falling through ice on Saginaw Bay - WNEM TV 5

Fisherman rescued after falling through ice on Saginaw Bay

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A fisherman is recovering after authorities say he fell through ice on the Saginaw Bay. 

The Tuscola County Sheriff’s Office received a call about 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5 from a woman who said her son called her saying he had fallen through ice on the Saginaw Bay.

Investigators learned the fisherman was riding his quad about 5 miles out from Thomas Road when he drove into open water. The man managed to pull himself out of the water, but was unable to reach shore. Police said he took refuge in a shanty he had been towing.

An airboat was sent to the area, and with the help of thermal imaging and GPS coordinates, officials found the man and took him to shore.

He was treated at the scene.

The sheriff’s office said they have seen many questions on social media regarding falling through the ice and whether there is a cost to calling 911.

“The answer is no. However, someone pays for your rescue and it is the taxpayers of the county. The first responders are also risking their lives to save yours. Rescuers do not recover equipment and you will pay for a private recovery company to get your quadrunner or vehicle out of the water,” the sheriff’s department wrote on Facebook.

Police said if you do fall through the ice, your first call should be 911.

“It may be the only call you are able to make,” the department said.

Officials warn fisherman the Saginaw Bay is to be respected and can be dangerous anytime of the year. Here are some safety tips:

  • Do not rely on your phone as a compass.
  • Carry a real compass and a GPS and learn which direction is back to shore from where you came.
  • Carry ice picks to use if you fall through.
  • Tell people where you will be fishing and when you are supposed to return.

"Finally, we have continually put out that ice is not safe. If you continue to travel on dangerous ice please carry identification so we can contact the next of kin. If you fall thru the ice there is a high potential that it will be a body recovery and not a rescue," the department wrote. 

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