Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
Fisherman pulls elderly man from cold waters of Grand Lake
By Kathy Thompson
Luella Rindler would love to thank the man who helped pull her 82-year-old husband, Melvin, from the cold waters of Grand Lake behind Doss Landing in the 5000 block of Lake Drive Monday afternoon.
Melvin Rindler was changing a bulb in a light post near the channel around 3 p.m. when he fell from a small step ladder into the water, said Montezuma assistant fire chief Doug Forsthoefel.
Jay Bergman was fishing from a dock about 200 yards away when he heard Rindler yelling for help, according to Mercer County Sheriff's Deputy Mike Link. Bergman told Link he quickly drove his truck to the area, jumped in and held Rindler up until members of the Montezuma Fire Department arrived about 10 minutes later.
Forsthoefel said he doesn't know the channel's depth, but estimated it could be as deep as five feet.
Bergman could not be reached for comment.
Melvin Rindler was taken to Coldwater Community Hospital. Bergman was not transported.
Luella Rindler said her husband had rested comfortably in the hospital Monday night.
"We're very lucky," she said. "He's going to be fine."
Forsthoefel said Melvin Rindler had no apparent injuries after he was pulled from the water but was taken to the hospital due to hypothermia concerns. The water temperature on Monday was about 46 degrees.
"That can be a concern at this time of year," Forsthoefel said. "The water is a lot colder than many expect. Hypothermia can come on quickly."
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, water 70 degrees or below can cause hypothermia. Water conducts heat away from the body 25 times faster than air does, according to ODNR, and survival time in 40-degree water is one to three hours.
Prolonged exposure will use up the body's energy and can affect the brain making it difficult to think or move well, according to ODNR.
Luella Rindler is grateful for the act of kindness by a stranger.
"I just can't say thank you enough," Luella Rindler said.