WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. - Firefighters with the Kilbourn Fire Department performed a nighttime rescue on the icy waters of the Wisconsin River, saving a dog named Milo.
The black dog was spotted by people several miles upriver floating on a piece of ice. The dog floated down the river for two hours before firefighters were able to rescue it.
“The dog had been out there for a couple of hours, and you don’t know if he’s already been in the water and back out. You knew he was cold,” firefighter Adam Hickey said.
Firefighters and Wisconsin Dells police officers worked together to track the dog as it floated down the river on a piece of ice approximately 20 feet wide.
“At some point, you lose sight of him because you can’t access the shore,” Hickey said.
As the dog neared Wisconsin Dells it became clear the firefighters needed to get Milo off of the ice. If they didn’t, the dog would reach the spillway of a dam.
To do so, as night was falling, firefighters carried a boat out across the ice and put it in the open water of the river. In the darkness, three firefighters set out to find a black dog on a dark river.
“We were fighting daylight from the time that it started,” firefighter Colin Field said.
Eventually, with the help of a flashlight, the firefighters spotted Milo floating down the river on the ice. They were able to get next to the ice, but couldn’t coax the dog into the boat. That is when Hickey crawled onto the ice flow to get the dog.
“I kind of crawled out to the center of it, but he was on the far side of it and nervous,” Hickey said.
Eventually, they were able to get the dog into the boat and safely to shore.
Following the rescue, Milo was reunited with his owner. The dog had gotten out of a fenced yard and wandered onto the ice that broke off and floated down river.
Firefighters hope the rescue can be a reminder to people. With high temperatures expected to rise into the mid-50s through the next week, ice on rivers and lakes will be unsafe.
“The biggest thing that we can stress is to stay off the ice. With those upcoming temperatures, it is going to play a large role in weakening the ice,” Field said.
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