Man springs to action to save couple from icy water

WLFI File Photo
WLFI File Photo

NEWTON CO., Ind. (WLFI) – A DNR employee sprang into action to save a married couple from frigid water in Newton County on Thursday.

The incident occurred around noon Thursday on J.C. Murphy Lake in the Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area in Newton County. The Department of Natural Resources said the couple fell through ice while fishing, and a nearby fisherman called the property office.

Officials said employee Greg Rainford answered the phone, drove to the lake and pulled the man out of 36-degree water which was six-feet deep. Two other people nearby helped the woman out of the water with a rope.

DNR confirms the couple was uninjured. But officials added, “the accident is a reminder to anglers that lake ice is becoming increasingly dangerous with the arrival of spring.”

After the rescue, Rainford and other DNR staff closed the lake and got others off the ice. Rainford said the ice at J.C. Murphy on Thursday was four inches thick and looked strong on top but had “honeycombed” underneath.

The fishing accident was the second time in two years that Rainford has earned recognition. In 2013, he earned a DNR Fish & Wildlife Award of Excellence for his leadership and willingness to mentor new employees. Rainford has worked at Willow Slough for 29 years.

Officials with DNR said, “We’re real lucky to have Greg and employees like him…wouldn’t trade them for the world.”

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