California man drowns during heroic attempt to save three dogs from frozen lake on Thanksgiving day
According to El Dorado County Sheriff’s office, David Schmidt was taking the dogs for a morning walk in Meyers, Northern California, near South Lake Tahoe, when the tragedy occurred.
A California man lost his life while trying to save three dogs from a partially frozen lake last week.
According to a statement by El Dorado County Sheriff’s office, David Schmidt was taking three dogs for a walk on Thanksgiving morning in Meyers, Northern California, near South Lake Tahoe, when the tragedy occurred.
According to South Tahoe Now, two of the dogs belonged to Schmidt while the third was a friend's pet. Authorities believe that at least one of the pets fell into the icy water while Schmidt was walking them along Lake Baron. In a bid to rescue the animals, the 39-year-old entered the frigid water. Sadly, he did not make it out alive.
Around noon on Thursday, officers from the sheriff’s office and the Lake Valley Fire Department responded to a report of a possible drowning. Upon arrival, they found the dogs and Schmidt's clothes floating in the lake. Speaking to KTXL, Fire Captain Perry Quinn said they found two of the pups "alive and padding" in the water.
“They, potentially, could have been in the water for an hour or more, we’re not sure. They were still alive and paddling when we got there,” he said.
The sheriff's office said all three dogs were rushed to a local vet for treatment. Meanwhile, authorities used a remote operating vehicle to locate Schmidt’s body, which was found on a different part of the lake.
“There were no signs of foul play and all signs indicate that this was a tragic accident,” the sheriff’s office said. “Next of kin notifications have been made.”
According to KTXL, Lake Baron will get thick enough to safely cross and even ice skate on in the winter. However, the lake was still at least two inches thinner than the safety threshold when Schmidt entered it.
In the wake of the tragedy, Quinn urged people to “never be out there alone".
“You know, go near the ice with a partner, someone who can call 911 if there is an accident,” he said. “Don’t attempt to self rescue. Don’t attempt to rescue your dogs on your own. We’re more prepared. Don’t enter the water alone.”
Schmidt’s family has organised a fundraiser on GoFundMe towards David's 'Celebration of Life'.