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Good Samaritans save man who fell through thin ice in Bloomington

By the time Assistant Fire Chief Jay Forster arrived two good Samaritans, known only as Patrick and Dan, were headed towards the victim with a kayak and rescue line.
Credit: Bloomington FD
A man can thank two good Samaritans for being alive, after they pulled him from the icy water of Penn Lake Monday.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — A person who thought it was OK to venture out on a lake in Bloomington Monday is lucky to still be around to reconsider that decision.

Bloomington Fire Rescue posted on their Twitter account about the incident, which happened on Lower Penn Lake near the intersection of 86th and Penn Avenue. The rescue team was dispatched on reports of someone through the ice and in the water, but by the time Assistant Fire Chief Jay Forster arrived two good Samaritans, known only as Patrick and Dan, were headed towards the victim with a kayak and rescue line.

"I was the first one there," Forster recalled. "Thought I was going to have 3 victims. 

The Assistant Chief says the man was clearly struggling and unable to pull himself up on the thin shelf of ice that remained on the lake. He watched as Patrick and Dan scooted along the ice until they were close enough to throw the man a line and pull him out of the icy water. They then carefully dragged him across the precariously thin ice to shore. 

"These two guys, they saved his life, really," Forster insisted.

Credit: Bloomington FD
Bloomington Asst. Fire Chief Jay Forster says there is no doubt the snowshoer who fell through the ice would not be alive had it not been for good Samaritans Patrick and Dan.

Forster says the snowshoer, a local resident in his fifties, was extremely fortunate for a number of reasons. First, with coronavirus provisions in place, an army of local residents was tired of being cooped up and were out walking. They saw the man fall through and called 911. 

Secondly, he was fortunate that one of the Samaritans lives on the lake and had his kayak handy.

Third, it is rare to find two people who are willing to risk their lives to help a stranger who should not have been where he was. In fact, the Assistant Chief says one of his firefighters in a cold water suit walked out to help pull the man in and fell in himself. Forster said as of Monday afternoon half the lake was open water. 

"They're true heroes, they really are, " Forster says. "Came up with a quick plan and decided they needed to go out there. They did a good job."

The victim refused to be taken to the hospital and was treated on the scene.

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