Alaskan Man Rescued After Clinging To Ice Chunk for 30 Minutes in Frigid Water

by Taylor Cunningham

An Alaskan man survived the freezing temperates of the Cook Inlet for more than 30 mins by holding on to an ice chunk.

As the AP reported, Jaime Snedden, 45, was walking along the frozen shoreline on Feb, 26th when a 5-foot square chunk of ice broke free and carried him into the open water.

Snedden and his girlfriend were collecting coal to heat their home at the time. When he fell, his girlfriend called for help. And when EMS didn’t come quickly, she posted a plea for help on Facebook.

“I need somebody with a boat to come to (Anchor Point) beach now please — my boyfriend is stuck on an iceberg and going out with the tide. I called 911 — they are taking forever to get here,” she wrote in a forum for the neighboring town of Homer.

The outgoing current took him about 300 yards into the inlet, and almost swept Snedden into the Anchor River. Alaska Wildlife Trooper Jeremy Baum was close by when he heard the call. He reached the ice chunk in 8 minutes.

Snedden was not wearing any type of flotation device. Instead, he donned a windbreaker and jeans that weighed him down. And when Baum attempted to rescue him, only Snedden’s arms and head were above water.

If the Alaskan Man Had Been in the Water for ’10 or 15 More Minutes’ He Probably Wouldn’t Have Survived

Luckily, a fishing boat named Misty was also nearby when authorities sent out an urgent marine broadcast looking for help. And the boat reached Snedden at the same time as Baum.

The trooper rowed an inflatable pack raft to the ice chunk and got Snedden out of the water. Then Captain Shane Balkely and his clients pulled both men aboard the Misty.

“Without their help, it would have been much more challenging to rescue Snedden and get him to EMS as quickly as we did,” Baum said.

Jaime Snedden was breathing and conscious when Baum reached him. But he was hypothermic after spending somewhere between 30 and 40 mins in the water.

“We assumed we were picking up a body because you don’t pull live people out of the water —especially not in wintertime, and especially not that far off,” Peder Reiland, a passenger who regularly fishes in the Inlet, said in a phone interview. “It feels like 10 or 15 more minutes and he probably wouldn’t have made it back.”

According to The U.S. Coast Guard, the air temperature was only 30 degrees Fahrenheit that day. And the water was 38 F.

Captain Balkely carried Snedden to an Anchor Point boat launch area to meet awaiting medics. And he managed to get within 100 yards of the dock. From there, Baum used another inflatable raft to row Snedden the rest of the way.

Jaime Snedden was immediately transferred to a local hospital and treated for hypothermia. Alaskan Wildlife Troopers say he should fully recover.