Missing northern Oakland County man recovered during daring water rescue

Michigan State Police made a daring water rescue in Oakland County after a man reported missing was found half-submerged in freezing water after falling through the ice.

The rescue in Groveland Township is the most recent incident of emergency crews saving people after falling through the ice.

The water rescue happened late Wednesday after troopers learned that an adult male with autism had gone missing after leaving his group home.

A search with assistance from a canine unit lasted approximately two hours before troopers were made aware that a person had fallen through the ice about 4.5 miles from the group home.

"Obviously he was suffering from hypothermia," said 1st Lt. Michael Shaw, Michigan State Police. "Every once in a while he kind of goes for a walk or goes out and doesn’t return."  

When police arrived at the scene, they navigated to a pond where they could hear a person calling for help.

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A screengrab from the body camera of a Michigan State Police officer during a water rescue in northern Oakland County. Photo courtesy of state police. 

According to state police, the man had fallen into the ice and was submerged in freezing water from his chest down, causing him to show signs of hypothermia.

The troopers knew him by name after having had previous contact with him.

"I’m coming for you buddy, keep yelling for me," said a trooper. "You got to stop doing this all the time buddy, it’s too dangerous."  

During the rescue operation, one trooper fell through the ice. He continued heading toward the subject while breaking the ice in front of him with his fists.

A second trooper was able to reach the man without falling through.

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The officers were eventually able to hoist the man out of the water and drag him to shore.

"Let’s pull him up to the truck this ice can’t hold us," said the trooper. "Talk to me, don’t go to sleep, talk to me." 

The man was taken to Ascension Genesys Hospital for treatment and was expected to make a full recovery. 

"If they wouldn’t have responded at that time and gone into the water to get him, he surely would have died," Shaw said.