For their roles last March in rescuing two Belle Isle visitors who had fallen through the ice, four Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers have been presented with Lifesaving Awards from the DNR Law Enforcement Division.
Sgt. Michael Feagan and Sgt. Ron Kimmerly were on routine patrol at Belle Isle Park when an emergency call came in that a pair of park visitors had fallen through the ice. Though they had been able to get out of the water, the visitors were lost in the island’s woods and had no idea where their vehicle was.
The two officers enlisted the aid of conservation officer Michael Drexler and Sgt. Todd Szyska – who were on the island for other business – and began the search on the east end of the island, where the incident reportedly occurred. Interviews with other park visitors turned up no additional information.
The officers eventually made phone contact with the pair and blasted their sirens so the victims could tell them which direction the sound was coming from. After determining a possible location for the lost visitors, the officers had to climb fences and slide through locked gates to get to them.
While Sgt. Szyska remained at the gate to await medical personnel, the other three officers located the pair, who were in medical distress.
The officers used emergency blankets – as well as their own coats, hats and gloves and their hands – to warm the pair. When emergency medical personnel arrived 30 minutes later and were unable to get to the area because of deep snow and locked gates, the officers assisted in carrying the victims on backboards to an ambulance.