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Grandville teenagers help save ice fishermen

Posted at 9:24 PM, Mar 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 06:40:05-05

GRANDVILLE, Mich. — Two teenagers from Grandville acted quickly on Sunday, when two guys who were out fishing on Sunday fell through the ice.

Garrett Kok and Quinton Hendrickson ran to save the ice fishermen without hesitation.

It all started off the shore of the lake behind Garrett's house.

“We were out on the ice," Quinton said. "It was about four inches thick, so it was safe for us to be out there."

Quinton and Garrett were about 70 yards away from two other fishermen.

“One of them had a fish on, so me and Garrett were just watching him,” Quinton said.

The two fishermen fell through the ice, which was much thinner in that portion of Whispering Springs Lake.

“We actually watched the ice crash under them. And they started screaming for help,” Quinton said.

The boys acted fast.

“It was instincts. We just ran over there to see what we could do,” Garret said. They ran to a neighbor's house. The neighbor called 911 and gave Garrett and Quinton a ladder and rope.

“He sent us out there, because we’re like the lightest,” Garrett said. "We ran out there, tried to get as close as we could."

“When I was handing him the ladder, I took a step close, and I could feel the ice bend under me,” Quinton said, "so I kind of hesitated, but aI have to get this ladder to him, so I still tried to slide it, even though (the ice) was bending under me."

Garrett's dad, Brian Kok, and his brother-in-law, David Buko, weren't far behind. They brought a boat from a neighbor's house for the men to cling to after the extension ladder they were using to pull the two men out came apart.

The boys and David stayed with the men while they clung to the side of the boat, waiting for first responders.

“It’s two different parts of the lake. It’s amazing how thin the ice was over there. I mean it was easy for me to break it."

It's a rescue they knew they had to make.

“It would have been close I think, if they made it or not, if we wouldn’t have helped them, so who knows what would have happened?” David Buko said.

The two men were taken to the hospital and checked out, and are okay.

The Grandville Police Department posted about that rescue on its Facebook page, saying the positive outcome to this incident was due to several factors, including 911 being called so quickly and the residents who stepped in to help.

The department is also reminding people to be careful when out on the ice and to keep some tips in mind from the Michigan DNR, including testing thickness with a spud or needle bar, and avoiding ice that was formed by snow that was melted and refrozen, because that ice is weaker. The agency has more tips posted on its website.