NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - A Niagara Falls man has died after trying to rescue his dog from thin ice at Hyde Park Lake.
When a Niagara Falls resident saw his dog plunge through the ice at Hyde Park Lake, he made the decision to go in after the animal. That decision cost him his life. It happened just after three o'clock Wednesday afternoon. Two boys, believed to be students at Gaskill Middle School across the street, saw the whole thing.
Niagara Falls Police Capt. David LeGault said, "First, they saw the dog break through the ice. And then they saw the man trying to get the dog back. And they saw him break through the ice and go underwater as well. So the two boys ran for help. They called 911."
Michael Eagler, who witnessed the incident, said, "I seen [sic] the little kid waving, so I ran over. And the kid said, "He's drowning, he's drowning!""
Police, firefighters and paramedics arrived in less than a minute. They had the man out of the water in less than five minutes. Eagler marveled at their quick response, and especially at the first firefighter who jumped into the frigid water, with no protective gear on.
"I can't say enough about the fireman. He was great, he was great. Didn't hesitate. Went right in after him," recounted Eagler.
Rescuers also got the dog out safely. It is one of three dogs - all Golden Retrievers - that the man owned.
Capt. LeGault said, "All dogs survived. They were all taken by [the Niagara County] SPCA, and they're in their care right now."
But the man later died at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.
"Just a sad event. Unfortunate," lamented Capt. LeGault.
Police are not releasing the victim's name just yet. Niagara County SPCA President Brandy Scrufari tells News 4 the dogs probably will need to be adopted; News 4 will follow up Thursday and let you know if and when the dogs are in need of a new home.
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