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Victim, witness speak on harrowing ice water rescue at Mantua Reservoir

Posted at 10:42 PM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-19 00:42:47-05

MANTUA, Utah — A man and his dog are lucky to be alive after nearly drowning in the icy waters of the Mantua Reservoir on Monday.

Larry Mangum, who fell through the ice, and Ivan Ayers, who called 9-1-1, spoke to FOX 13 about the ordeal.

"Yes, I need, I need water rescue now! I have somebody that fell through at Mantua Reservoir,” said Ivan Ayers in the 9-1-1 call.

Mangum said conditions on the reservoir looked great.

"It was 5 or 6 inches thick and it was good black ice,” Mangum said.

Mangum said he tried to get around an open water space on the ice, but he didn’t get far enough away from the danger.

"Tried to swing around it, and obviously didn't swing enough,” Mangum said.

Fortunately, Ayers was close enough to see something was wrong.

"When I went to get on the ice, I saw his gear, probably two or three hundred yards out, but I didn't see Larry, or his dog,” Ayers said.

When Ayers got a little closer, he first noticed Mangum’s dog in the icy water.

"I saw the dog just paddling... paddling, paddling,” Ayers said.

Then he saw Mangum.

"I really didn't have time to think. All I saw was a man struggling in the water and I had to do something,” Ayers said.

Ayers immediately called 9-1-1.

Mangum said his ability to stay calm in the situation most likely saved his life.

"People find this hard to believe but I never panicked at all,” Mangum said.

Mangum has watched self-rescue videos for people who’ve fallen through ice, and he encourages other ice fishers to do the same.

"If you go in, you don't do anything until your breathing starts to settle down,” Mangum said.

Mangum was in the water for nearly 20 minutes before UHP troopers, the Mantua Chief of Police and Brigham City firefighters were able to pull him and his dog out of the water. Both Mangum and his dog are OK.

"Right now we are both, there is no issues, it's like it never happened,” Mangum said.

As his way of saying “thank you,” Mangum has started a GoFundMe campaign to pay for ice rescue gear for the Mantua Police Department in case they ever need it.

"They saved my life. Without that it wouldn't have been a rescue, it would've been a recovery,” Mangum said.

Both Mangum and Ayers encourage all ice fishers to be prepared with the right gear and practice ice fishing safety measures.

Link to the GoFundMe campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/f/ice-rescue-equipment?utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_lico+share-sheet