Engineers -- and dog -- help woman from lake

2014-03-05T22:05:00Z 2014-03-05T22:39:10Z Engineers -- and dog -- help woman from lakeBy ROBBY KORTH / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com
March 05, 2014 10:05 pm  • 

A Lincoln woman's resourceful dog helped save her life Wednesday morning, with the help of two workers with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Steve Dye and Ray Frana were doing a routine, monthly check of the dam at Holmes Lake around 10:30 a.m. when they noticed a dog out on the ice, next to a hole.

As the two men looked closer they noticed  "there was something splashing in there," Dye said.

As the two men drove down from the dam toward the splashing, they noticed that a woman had fallen through the ice about 40 feet out in the lake.

The two engineers grabbed a rope, but it wasn't long enough. So, as Dye dialed 911, Frana crawled along the ice about halfway to where the woman was, then handed the rope to the woman's dog. She called the dog to her, it handed her the rope and Frana then pulled the woman out of the hole. 

"And she just slid like a hockey puck toward us," Dye said.

By the time paramedics arrived, Dye and Frana had the woman safely in their truck, along with the dog. 

The woman had gone after the dog when it had fallen through the ice, and then fell in herself after she had saved it, Dye explained.

"They really helped each other out," he said. 

The woman was suffering from hypothermia when paramedics arrived to the scene, Lincoln Fire and Rescue Capt. Randy Case said.

Her situation wasn't life-threatening, but she was transported to a nearby hospital as a precaution.

Without the help of Frana and Dye, it's unclear what would have happened. It's unclear how long the woman was in the water.

The engineers "probably saved her life," Case said.

After the two men made sure the dog, who they nicknamed Sparky, was being looked after by animal control officers, Frana and Dye went on to another routine check at Olive Creek, where nothing was out of the ordinary. But they couldn't get Wednesday's events at Holmes Lake out of their mind.

"For the rest of the day you're kind of in shock yourself," Dye said. "But luckily, God was with us today."

Ice conditions on area lakes will no doubt continue to deteriorate as temperatures climb above freezing. Thursday's high in Lincoln could reach 52.

Reach Robby Korth at 402-473-2655 or at rkorth@journalstar.com.

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