A beloved family pet barely survived an icy plunge after falling into a frozen pond in an Indiana backyard on Monday night.
A member of the Witsken family, of Noblesville, Ind., attempted to rescue their golden retriever Breeze from the ice, but failed when unsafe conditions led to hypothermia. The incident forced them to call 911 for help.
The drama began when one of the Witsken children, Nekoda, 18, noticed Breeze was missing and began the search. When Nekoda spotted the dog in the backyard, she immediately tried to rescue it, but fell through the ice herself, waist-deep.
"[Nekoda] looked like an icicle. Her hair was all wet, she was taking her coat off and crying, but she was really just worried about the dog," her mother Kathy told Fox59Indianapolis.
Nekoda was shocked by the cold, saying, "it just instantly numbs you, just like that. I just remember trying to drag her and getting myself out of the ice," said Nekoda.
The family knew that in order to save Breeze, who was still stuck in the icy pond, they needed help. Nekoda watched shivering from the shore as her mom called 911.
Firefighters arrived and a diver went in for the rescue. The diver emerged holding in his arms Breeze, who had been in the freezing water for more than 40 minutes.
"A dramatic rescue just in time," said Dennis Parker, who carried Breeze to the ambulance.
"[She was] covered in ice forming on the ears and snout at that point. I don't think she would have really made it much longer than when we got her out, so it's a good thing they called when they did," Parker said.
Breeze was recovering at the vet until Tuesday evening, when the family was able to take her back home into a warm house.
The Witsken family says they are counting their blessings that all are okay. Nekoda was treated for symptoms of hypothermia, and will recover.
The family says it's grateful to the firefighters who risked their lives to save Breeze.
"They did an excellent job and they really cared not just about Nekoda, but about the whole situation. [They] put their hearts in it. There's a lesson to be learned here, there's a lot of heart in what they do, and there were a lot of teams that came together to help us," Kathy Witsken said.