Coast Guard crew rescues dog from icy Betsie Bay near Frankfort Shipping Channel

d9FRANKFORT, Mich. – An ice rescue team from Coast Guard Station Frankfort pulled a dog to safety Tuesday, after it jumped into icy Betsie Bay near the Frankfort Shipping Channel.

At about 9:45 a.m. local time, Petty Officer 1st Class Kurt Lubbers witnessed, from inside the station, a dog jump into the water on the far side of the Bay. Crewmembers activated the search and rescue alarm and contacted Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan and Benzie County 911.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Tim Putnam of Coast Guard Station Frankfort, Mich., warms up the dog that he rescued from the ice-filled waters of Betsie Bay of the Frankfort Shipping Channel, Feb. 3, 2015. Putnam swam nearly 200 feet in his ice rescue gear to reach the dog, before both were pulled back to shore by other members of the rescue team.  (Coast Guard photo by Ed Carter)

Petty Officer 3rd Class Tim Putnam of Coast Guard Station Frankfort, Mich., warms up the dog that he rescued from the ice-filled waters of Betsie Bay of the Frankfort Shipping Channel, Feb. 3, 2015. (Coast Guard photo by Ed Carter)

After donning proper ice rescue gear, Petty Officer 3rd Class Tim Putnam entered the water and swam to the dog. Because of the extensive amount of broken ice in the Bay, it took nearly 20 minutes for Putnam to swim about 200 feet to reach the dog.

Once Putnam grabbed the animal, he signaled to members of the shore party, who pulled the pair back to shore.

Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy Morris entered the water to assit the exhausted Putnam across the last several feet to a six-foot high break wall. Petty Officer 2nd Class Elijah Webb then pulled the dog up to the wall to safety. Because of the amount of ice on the break wall and nearby ladders, Putnam and Morris had to be pulled up by other members of the rescue team with a rescue sling, and with the help of passersby Donald Ruff and Steve Brown.

The crew brought the dog into the station’s boathouse where it was dried off and warmed. Benzie County Animal Control took the collarless animal to the Animal Welfare League of Benzie County, where it was given a clean bill of health. The dog will be kept in quarantine for several days unless an owner is identified.

“This was a total team effort by the members of our station and Mr. Brown and Mr. Ruff who assisted getting our members up the wall and back onto dry land,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Robert Nendza, officer of charge of Station Frankfort. “Our crews train regularly for ice rescues, and in this case, we wanted to make sure we were the ones taking the risk of going onto the water instead of an unprepared bystander.”

The Coast Guard recommends all pet owners keep a careful eye on their animals, especially around ice. This Coast Guard blog post from last year addresses safety tips for dogs and their owners.


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