Crews rescue couple who fell through thin ice at Wabashiki Fish and Wildlife Area

Couple waded into chest-deep water, rescuers say

INDIANAPOLIS - A couple was rescued after falling through thin ice at the Wabashiki Fish and Wildlife Area in western Indiana on Saturday evening.

A Department of Natural Resources conservation officer and a fireman from the Sugar Creek Fire Department were called to the wildlife area about 6:40 p.m.

Officer Thomas Lahay said Brennan Chandler, 21 of Terre Haute, and Arica Wellman, 21, a student at Indiana State University, had apparently been walking on a trail when they decided to take a shortcut to get back to a vehicle.

"Their shortcut took them through wetlands that had ice and water that ranged from a few inches deep to water that was knee deep," Lahay said in a news release. "When the couple reached water depths of nearly 4 to 5 feet deep, they called for assistance."

When crews arrived, they found the victims by the sound of their voices, Lahay said.

"Both victims were conscious and alert, but had been in chest-deep water for over an hour and a half and could not move," Lahay said.

Conservation Officer Jason Sullivan and Sugar Creek Fire Chief Darrick Scott put on immersion suits designed to protect them from hypothermia and went into the ice, where they pulled Chandler and Wellman to safety, according to the news release.

"The rescuers placed life-saving devices on the victims and carried (them) through the frigid water to an awaiting ambulance," Lahay said.

Chandler was taken to a Terre Haute hospital to be treated for severe hypothermia, and Wellman was later taken via helicopter to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for treatment of severe hypothermia.

Information about their conditions wasn't immediately released.

Print this article Back to Top