An off-duty Columbia police officer became a hero Wednesday after saving a man who fell through ice trying to rescue his dog.
Dustin Green saved 22-year-old Joshua Hochsprung at Columbiaâ??s Twin Lakes Recreation Area that afternoon.
The 23-year-old cop said he didnâ??t think twice when he went out on the frozen waters of Twin Lakes to help Hochsprung, who had fallen through the ice trying to save his dog about 20 feet from the shoreline.
Green was at the park with his girlfriend and his dog, Grace, when he saw Hochsprung struggling in the icy water with his dog. Green slowly walked onto the ice and used his dogâ??s leash to pull Hochsprung to safety.
Once on the shore, Hochsprung took off his wet clothes. Green then covered him up with a dry coat until an ambulance arrived on the scene.
â??Luckily, I had someone else with me to hang onto my dog so my dog wouldnâ??t follow me out there and then I would have the same situation," Green said. "I knew not to get very close to him or we would both fall through. I had to have something to give us a little distance between us. The leash was the first thing that popped into my head, I guess.â??
Green said he didnâ??t think about risking his life during the rescue from the icy lake.
"I donâ??t feel like I did anything that any other police officer or firefighter wouldnâ??t have done," he said. "Iâ??m just glad that one of us was around in time.â??
Columbia Fire Captain John Metz said it was fortunate that this was a non-event, especially since Greenâ??s rescue had all of the makings of a tragedy. Both men and canines are fine.
Metz said if Green didnâ??t react as quickly as he did, Hochsprung might have succumbed to hypothermia and drowned.
The Boone County Fire District offers these tips to stay safe on ice.
â?º Avoid crossing frozen bodies of water in a single file.
â?º Never go on the ice without adult supervision.
â?º Always wear a life jacket.
â?º Stay on clear ice.
â?º Milky colored ice tends to be weak and porous.
â?º Make sure the ice is at least four inches thick.