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Watch: Woman, 20, rescued from icy waters in River Falls

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A woman was rescued from icy waters Thursday after falling into Lake George in River Falls.

The woman, a 20-year-old UW-River Falls student, was attempting to save her dog at the time. River Falls Police Chief Gordie Young said the woman had initially called to report the dog was stranded on the ice before she went out to retrieve it and found herself in a similar predicament.

Officer Beth Posel reported finding the woman about 60 feet from shore, where she walked across the mucky bottom until the final 15 feet. There, Young said the officer used a rope to pull her across the ice to safety. She could be seen raising herself up on the riverbanks under her own power; she was immediately loaded into an ambulance.

The woman’s condition wasn’t immediately available, though Young said it didn’t appear to be life-threatening. River Falls Fire Chief Scott Nelson said she was in the water for about 25 minutes. She was in about 4 feet of water in the southern portion of the impoundment, just above the dam.

Young called the rescue “a collaborative effort” among police, firefighters and EMS crews.

Authorities said the small dog, which the woman was cradling before releasing it to officers near shore, was fine.

Authorities responded to the call at about 12:08 p.m. along Winter Street near the Riverwalk Pathway.

River Falls firefighters, who are trained in ice rescue, utilized ice-rescue suits and safety ropes during the rescue. A rapid-deployment raft was being readied but wasn’t deployed once the victim made it out under her own power, Nelson noted.

Young said caution should also be exercised around ice. The safest option is to “just stay off it,” he said. Young said to call 911 anytime a rescue situation arises.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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