Icy rescue: Woman rescued from freezing waters at Jensen Grove

BLACKFOOT — A 34-year-old Blackfoot woman was rescued from the icy water at Jensen Grove Tuesday after she fell through the ice while attempting to rescue her dogs.
Passerby Tony Norton was at Jensen Grove on his lunch break when he saw the woman crawling across the ice toward her dogs.
“I wasn’t sure what she was doing,” said Norton. “Then I realized she was going after her dogs. She was making really good time. She was making a beeline toward them.”
When she fell through the ice Norton called 911. The call came in at 1:11 p.m. Norton said he tried to drive his own vehicle around the lake but was unable to reach the ice near the woman because of the thick mud from the drained lake.
“I did not know how deep the water was and I didn’t know if she could touch,” said Norton. “I didn’t have anything with me to get her and I honestly didn’t think she could last. She is one tough girl. I really didn’t thing she could last.”
Emergency responders with the Blackfoot Fire Department estimate the woman was in the water for nearly 30 minutes. She was transported to Bingham Memorial Hospital at 1:45 p.m.
Much of the water has drained from the lake at Jensen Grove, but an area on the east side of the lake still has water and is partially covered in thin ice. The woman, who’s identity has not been released, was in about 10 feet of water but was far enough away from the edge of the ice that rescuers were unable to throw a rope to her.
Blackfoot Firefighter Rob Dansie slid across the ice on a backboard and was able to get the rope to the woman. Lt. Bryon Howell was nearly waist-high in the water assisting with the rope. A third firefighter, Justin Dial, was working his way out on the back of a ladder in a second attempt to rescue the woman.
Howell said the rescue went smoothly, but their greatest difficultly was getting their equipment to the edge of the ice through the mud. The first police vehicle that attempted to drive to the edge of the ice got stuck in the mud. Responders used a mule SUV to transport the ladder and firefighters had to carry the rope and backboard to the edge of the ice near the center of the lake.
“They just did a really good job,” Fire Chief Kevin Gray said. “They were safe about it and it was a difficult situation.”
Howell said it’s not uncommon for people to fall through the ice at Jensen Grove, but said they are typically rescued by others before responders arrived. He said this was his first ice rescue in his 22 years with the department.
Katie Harris contributed to this article.