Video: Rescue of man from freezing lake goes wrong as others fall in

Ruth Doherty

The dramatic rescue of a man from a freezing lake that saw up to 12 other people fall in has been captured on camera.

The incident occurred at Jackson Lake in Wrightwood, California, where people were sledding on Christmas Day believing the frozen ice was thick enough to take their weight.

But one man fell through, and his rescue sparked chaos, with up to 12 other people falling in while trying to rescue him.

Mickey Herman and his wife, Michelle, captured the entire scene on video.

Both had noted how they thought the ice didn't look very thick, before seeing the first sledder fall in. Michelle told CBS News: "We saw his arms flail. Someone said 'He can't swim' and it just turned into panic."

Mickey said: "It was hard to watch, it really was. We saw that guy go under three times and the third time, we didn't think he was coming back up."

Scenes of panic and chaos ensued, with people throwing ropes and inner tubes, but around a dozen people fell in themselves while trying to rescue the first man.

Mickey tried to help by throwing in a 25-foot rope he kept in his car, but it was coming up "about seven feet short", according to the Daily Mail.

After about eight minutes, one man sled in and helped get the first man out. Mickey said: "Fortunately, he was a strong swimmer and he grabbed the original guy and helped him over to the inner tube."

Michelle added: "It was Christmas day. We were thinking of the man in the cold water ... he could have died. We're just happy they got out."

See the interview with the Hermans here:

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