Man falls through ice on East River; recovery efforts suspended

GBPD Dive team helps with recovery efforts on the East River Saturday, December 23, 2017. (WLUK/Pafoua Yang)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Recovery efforts have been suspended for a man who police believe fell through ice and into the East River in Green Bay Friday night.

Police and fire crews searched the river and say the man fell through the ice near Quincy Street around 11:30 p.m.

Recovery efforts continued Saturday but officials decided to suspend the search.

Lt. Steve Mahoney with the Green Bay Police Dept. told FOX 11, "Witnesses say they saw the guy in a hole in the ice screaming for help or calling for help, they weren't able to get to him. They saw the guy go down and not resurface."

Some of the firefighters put on ice rescue suits and searched the area where footprints and a bicycle track led to a large hole in the ice on the river.

The rescue operations stopped after 40 minutes, the amount of time rescue crews use to deem someone unable to survive in water conditions like the East River.

Mahoney said, "We don't know if its possibly a homeless person from the Green Bay area."

Don Herman with Sunk? Dive and Ice said people should stay off rivers during this time of the year.

"You got the current and it never freezes and it's just like a stream," Herman said. "It'll eventually freeze but the rivers are always unsafe; there's never a good place to go in the winter time."

Herman suggests people carry ice pickers if they're headed out onto the ice.

He said, "I tell everyone to carry a whistle around your neck because when you go in the cold water, you lose your breath, but you can still blow a whistle."

Herman said hypothermia starts within minutes and it's best to avoid unsafe situations.

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