A 17-year-old high school athlete helped rescue an 83-year-old man and his dog after his Jeep fell through the ice.
The Des Moines Register reports that wrestler, football player, and track athlete Joe Salmon jumped into the frigid water of Iowa’s East Okoboji Lake on Feb. 4 to save Thomas Lee and his dog Cooper.
According to the Dickinson County Sheriff’s Office, four men assisted McConnell, Harrelson, Chester, and Parks in pulling Lee and his dog to safety.
Tom Gustafson, a photographer, captured the scene using a drone and shared it on Facebook. Salmon throws the dog out of the window while leaning through the back window to rescue it after it briefly enters the water, which the four other men save.
Salmon climbs into the Jeep and takes Lee out through the back window, which he broke to assist in their rescue. Salmon makes his way to the front of the Jeep and pulls Lee out.
According to the Des Moines Register, the student watched a nearby snowmobile race when he saw Lee’s Jeep plunge into the ice around 3 p.m. The Jeep plunged into the ice in Dickinson County’s lake under the Highway 71 bridge as Lee was approaching his son-in-law’s fishing shack.
When Salmon arrived at Lee’s side, he immediately called 911. Also, he noticed there was a dog behind him.
“I took one step, and (the water) went to about my chest,” he told the Des Moines Register. ” When I tried to open the back door, I found all the windows locked. One guy offered me a knife, so I hit the glass a few times.”
When the water level continued to rise, he helped Lee get out of the vehicle after removing the dog. Despite his injuries, Lee was transported to Lakes Regional Healthcare.
Police said Lee’s dog and rescuers could also dry off at the Okoboji Store nearby. “I’m happy that he was OK and the dog was OK. It was just crazy at the time,” Salmon told the Des Moines Register.