Muncie man rescued after falling through thin ice

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MUNCIE, Ind. (March 13, 2015) – A Muncie man was rescued from a reservoir Thursday afternoon after he fell through the ice. Larry Estep, 66, fell through thin ice about 550 yards from the shore at the Prairie Creek Reservoir. A man, who was nearby, called 911 after he thought he heard someone shouting for help.

911 Caller: “I swear I heard somebody saying ‘help’. I’m pretty sure somebody was ice fishing on the lake or …and I don’t see anybody so, I don’t know if there’s somebody in the lake right now or what”.

Estep was in the water for an hour. You could hear him shouting for help in the distance, during the 911 call.

911 Caller: “Yeah, he’s definitely in the lake. I see him now.”

Dispatch: “You see him?”

911 Caller: “Yeah, he’s in the lake. He’s moving.”

Dispatch: “I hear him too.”

Indiana Conservation Officer Mark Baker believes Estep is lucky to be alive.

“It could have very easily gone bad for him. He was fortunate to hold himself up,” Baker said.

Estep was pulled to safety using a sled. About 7 agencies helped rescue him.

“He’d been fishing most of the morning and he’d been fine for most of the day, but when the ice gets bad there’s really no telling when it’s going to go,” Baker said.

Baker warned there is a difference between clear ice, which you see in the beginning of the season, and dirty ice.

“The more it thaws (and) the more it refreezes, the dirtier it gets and it creates air pockets in the ice and makes it a lot weaker,” Baker said.