Marine Veteran Starts Slashing Ice to Save Himself, Mom, and Dog Trapped in Frozen Pond


Residents in Michigan are rarely concerned with the ice thickness in February. Not even Gordon Bombay’s limousine can crack through the foot of ice built up in municipal ponds where kids often play hockey.

All obscure 90s movie references aside, icy ponds can still be dangerous when ice thickness is left unchecked.

It seems that there is a new story about a child falling through the ice every week. If people are not safe on the ice, a fun day of skating can prematurely end in tragedy.

Such stories should serve as a reminder to be wary. Whether you are playing hockey, figure skating, or ice fishing, check conditions first and go forward with caution.

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However, these terrifying experiences don’t always have to end badly. Every once in a while, we are supplied a harrowing tale of men like George Bailey going out of their way to save the day.

But all obscure 40s movie references aside, these heroes are numerous and very real.

Matt Duckham, of Columbia, Michigan, is one such hero. After discovering his dog had run away and had gotten stuck in the icy waters of a nearby pond, he jumped to action.

The 8-month old German shepherd took off in the frigid conditions. Someone passing by alerted them to the fact that their dog had fallen into a nearby pond.

The ice was especially thin in this pond because of bubblers that cycle the water under the surface. As such, his dog fell through and was blocked from escape on all sides.

Hoping to save the dog, Duckham’s mother accidentally fell through the ice too. Duckham was quickly faced with a much more serious, double rescue mission.

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Thinking quickly, he followed the two into the water and began his heroic rescue. As a former Marine, his instincts kicked in without a second though for his own safety.

He recalled his thought process at the time, saying, “That water was rough, but your will to live overrode everything else. I was concerned about my mom, my dog and my kids. I wasn’t worried about the cold.”

Using a tactic he learned in the Marines, he slashed his forearms against the ice surrounding him and his family. Eventually he reached ice that could support his weight.

He then managed to lift his dog on top of the ice and did the same for his mother. By the time the rescue crew had arrived, all three had impressively managed to get out of the water.

Even though the family made it out safely, Columbia Township Fire Chief Scott Cota used this incident to remind the community that, “No ice is safe ice.”

People should go forward with this mindset, vigilant of the possible danger that comes with ice. Not everyone is as successful as this fortunate trio!

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