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Video: Firefighters unable to save drowning man

The 20-year-old man was fleeing from police when he ran over a thinly frozen pond and fell in

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Video shows firefighters and police attempting to rescue a man after he fell into a frozen lake while trying to flee authorities.

Kenneth Brown Jr., 20, died after he was trapped in the freezing waters of a retention pond for more than an hour before rescuers could get him out, according to the News-Gazette.

Brown was running from police after they responded to a domestic dispute call in the area, when he started jogging across a frozen lake and fell in.

22 fire personnel showed up to help rescue Brown, while officers tried to communicate with him.

Firefighters and an officer suited up to help rescue Brown and were being tethered together when other crew members threw a rescue disc, hoping Brown would grab it, but he didn't.

The newspaper reports that crews waited for a rescue raft to be inflated, and as crews went onto the ice to retrieve Brown, he had gone underwater. Crews were told the water was only waist-deep, but it was actually as much as 18-feet deep.

Six different firefighters and one police officer were in the water attempting to rescue Brown. Crews eventually had to dive to get Brown and transport him to the hospital where he later died.

Champaign Deputy Fire Chief Eric Mitchell said rescuers did all they could.

"They followed our ice-rescue guidelines pretty much to a T," Mitchell said. "It's a very low frequency (event) but a very high-risk rescue. They did exactly what they were supposed to do. They established command ... they made visual contact and attempted to talk to him, threw rescue devices, and went on the water. Going on the water is the last thing you want to do. They did all the other things first.”

Deputy Police Chief Joe Gallo said bystanders kept urging rescuers to get into the water to save Brown, but he said waiting for firefighters was the best decision.

Chief Mitchell agreed, saying charging into the water was not "safe for anybody. It might look like fiddling, but it's making sure the person is safe to do his job because you don't want to lose a rescuer."

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Angela Dee Dionne Angela Dee Dionne Monday, January 07, 2013 6:56:00 PM we must be safe before we can save anyone else or you will then have done nothing but make the situation worse and then they would have more to save and that would make it even more unsafe for everyone.
Rob Reusink Rob Reusink Monday, January 07, 2013 7:02:02 PM omg that took an hr.
Julie Davidson Julie Davidson Monday, January 07, 2013 7:07:51 PM Safety first. One of the FIRST things we are taught in EMS/1st Responder classes. You run in without thoughts of safety and then there are 2 patients or 2 casualties. Unfortunately the general public watches too much TV and thinks we should do anything.
Jamie Sturm Leflet Jamie Sturm Leflet Monday, January 07, 2013 7:19:02 PM I saw nothing wrong they attempted the rescue... risking their lives, they did not put this person in the situation in the first place and since he refused to grab the disk, it seemed he was evading rescue just as he evade police contact... good rescue... bad results, we wish we could save them all, but it is not the reality of the job.
Mark McGinley Mark McGinley Monday, January 07, 2013 7:30:53 PM Why didn't one of the Firefighters in the mustang suits go in tethered to a rescue line before the boat was inflated to secure the victim?
Andrew J Okey Andrew J Okey Monday, January 07, 2013 7:38:35 PM Why not just throw a rope out ? Looks to be less than 100'. For this kid to die is a shame!
Teresa J Wagner Teresa J Wagner Monday, January 07, 2013 7:45:49 PM That was hard to watch. And could have probably had a better outcome. If you're wearing the right equipment (a mustang suit?) and tethered to someone on land, I'd think you would feel safe going in to try and rescue someone.
Shawn Wanner Shawn Wanner Monday, January 07, 2013 7:50:40 PM If the guy didn't run from the cops in the first place he would still be alive!
Edward Tsyitee Edward Tsyitee Monday, January 07, 2013 9:10:02 PM Going in to warm water and getting wet is hard enough. Going in to freezing water is something else altogether
Edward Tsyitee Edward Tsyitee Monday, January 07, 2013 9:10:47 PM Andrew J Okey They did throe a life line to him, he didn't get it
Edward Tsyitee Edward Tsyitee Monday, January 07, 2013 9:11:42 PM Teresa J Wagner Feeling safe and being safe, two different things

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