A sledder who fell through thin ice at a lake in the San Gabriel Mountains triggered a rescue effort that almost turned into a disaster. Several of the rescuers also fell through the ice. Robert Kovacik reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012.
An ice-water rescue at a frozen lake in San Bernardino County escalated on Christmas Day as at least six would-be rescuers broke through the ice in an attempt to save the victims, and the entire ordeal was captured on video.
The incident happened Dec. 25 around noon at Jackson Lake, a small body of water east of Wrightwood, Calif. At least a dozen people were there sledding down a hill adjacent to the frozen lake.
At first, the ice at the bottom of the hill appeared stable. Video recorded by Mickey Herman of Acton, Calif., showed multiple sledders sitting on the ice; one man even brought his dog onto the frozen water.
At some point, one of the sledders reached the edge of the ice line and splashed into the water. He began flailing his arms as an onlooker is heard in the video saying, "he can't swim."
Another man raced over to help, but he too fell into the water. A third person, also attempting to help, was pulled in by one of the victims.
That's when the panic started to set in.
"Give me the rope from under the seat," shouted someone in the background. Other onlookers can be heard yelling, "call 911 right now."
As the crowd began to throw inner tubes and rope, more people fell into the water.
Eventually, the situation calmed and everyone made it out safely.
No serious injuries were reported.