Thanks to the quick action of neighbors and a Payson police officer, a 52-year-old woman was rescued Friday morning after falling through thin ice at a Payson lake.
Debbie Hoverby was crawling out to rescue her dog, Pete, who had fallen into the lake at the Twin Lakes Mobile Home Park around 9 a.m., when she fell through the ice, submerging herself in the frigid waters.
Witnesses called police and Sgt. John Heflin, who was on patrol in the 100 block of East Highway 260, heard the call. Within a minute, Heflin was on scene.
Several neighbors were already attempting to throw a rope to Hoverby, who had one elbow on the ice. Unable to reach her, Heflin grabbed a 15-foot pole with a large net attached to the end that was sitting nearby.
Holding onto a tree limb with one hand, Heflin outstretched the pole over the ice until it was within inches of Hoverby’s fingers. A man held onto Heflin’s belt so he wouldn’t fall into the lake.
“She was pretty lethargic, she couldn’t hold onto it,” Heflin said. “She didn’t have any strength.”
After a few tries, Hoverby held on long enough that Heflin was able to pull her out of the water and slide her across the ice.
Hoverby told Heflin she had been in the water about four or five minutes before she was pulled to safety.
Once on solid ground, Heflin wrapped the woman up in a blanket from his patrol vehicle until paramedics arrived.
Hoverby was taken to Payson Regional Medical Center, where she is expected to make a full recovery.
Pete hopped out of the lake on his own and is uninjured, Heflin added.
“I just happened to be close and got there, so it worked out good,” he said. “I am just glad we could save her because it doesn’t take long.”