Police Trooper stays calm in icy water
Remaining calm probably saved the life of a 41 year-old Traverse City man who went through the ice in Leelanau County.
Off-duty Michigan State Police Trooper Michael Mihalic was riding his snowmobile north on South Lake Leelanau with another snowmobiler, Bruce Mercer, 55, of Traverse City. Mihalic's sled broke through thin ice north of Lingaur Road in Leland Township at 9:45pm Tuesday.
Mercer was able to power through the water and made it to shore where he called Leelanau Dispatch.
Mihalic was in chest deep water about 40-50 yards off of the west shore and was unable to pull himself onto the ice. Realizing he couldn't get out of the water himself, he remained calm, did not panic and waited for rescue personnel to arrive.
Leland Fire and Rescue and Suttons Bay Fire and Rescue responded along with Leelanau County Sheriff's officers. Leland Rescue member Kyle Dunklow went onto the ice and was able to assist Mihalic back onto the ice.
Other rescue personnel then pulled the victim to shore using a rope that Dunklow attached to him. He was transported to Munson Medical Center where he was treated for exposure and is expected to make a full recovery.
Sheriff Mike Borkovich credits Mihalic's ability to remain calm and not expend energy thrashing in the water with possibly saving his life.
Mihalic was in the water at least 25 minutes and later said he thought he could have only held on for 5 more minutes when rescue workers pulled him from the water.
Sheriff Borkovich reminds everyone to be cautious on the ice, especially with the warming weather approaching.
For ice safety tips from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources click here.