Man dies after attempting to save dog from icy water on northeast side

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– A man died Monday after attempting to save a dog who had gone out onto the ice of a retention pond.

Crews arrived on the scene in the 7000 block of PGA Drive at The Masters Apartments just after noon after witnesses said they saw a man go into the water.

The Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) says the man, in his 20’s, has lived at the complex for several years and tried to rescue his dog.

Photo courtesy of IFD.

Two neighbors tried to help. Firefighters said Scott Filchak saw the scene unfolding as he was leaving the complex.

“I throw it in park and I just run out there. He falls in when I’m maybe halfway between the road and the lake,” Filchak said. “I run out, kind of just slide onto ice. I try and pull myself as much as I can. I get out a certain ways then it starts to break.”

IFD says Meroune Baoch heard the commotion and tried to help.

“The only thing I thought about just jump in inside and try to help both, but the ice was so thin once I walked in I went aside, so I tried to go through the ice. So there’s other workers, they brought rope, it was short, I threw it,” Baoch said.

Unfortunately, the man went underwater.

The rescue team was deployed into the water at 12:19 p.m. and the man was found two minutes later. He was about 30 feet from the shore and 15 feet down in approximately 37-degree water.

They got him back to shore and performed CPR. He was transported to St. Vincent Hospital in extreme critical condition, according to IFD. He later died from his injuries.

The dog survived the ordeal and was able to get out of the water on its own.

“We haven’t had a long enough freeze and a cold enough freeze right now to make the ice where it’s thick enough to walk on,” IFD Special Operations Captain Jerry Richert said. “This is not a winter wonderland here. We get really cold then really warm rather quickly so our ice a lot of the times is never really safe.”

Captain Richert said people should stay off the ice. If you see a dog or person who fell through, call 911.

“Call 911 so we can get out there as quickly as possible and then use some of those rescue tips, you know such as a ladder, extension cord, a rope, things like that you can reach out to the person with so that you stay off the ice, but possibly could give them something to hold onto or pull them out with,” he said.

The other men tried to do that, but unfortunately it didn’t work this time.

Both residents who attempted to help in the rescue were checked out on scene and released.

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