Man rescued from icy pond after risking life to save his dogs in Delaware

MARSHALLTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- Surface Water Rescue members say a man is lucky to be alive Friday night, and he himself is ever so grateful to those who rescued him from an icy pond.

Only Action News was there as Surface Water Rescue teams conducted a dramatic rescue to save George Esterling.

He fell into an icy pond in Pike Creek. He had gone in after his dogs, a Boxer and Bassett Hound who were chasing Geese.

"Right when I got to the dogs, the ice fell in for me, so I went in," said Esterling.

He managed to throw dogs to safety, but he himself was unable to get out.

I tried and tried, but every time I tried I boosted myself up, the ice would cave in. It was deep, I couldn't touch bottom," said Esterling.

Firefighters from the Newcastle County Rescue Team arrived on the scene after a young couple called to report what happened.

Anthony Dell Aquila from the Hockessin Fire Company said, "He kept saying, he can't stand, he can't move his hands, so when I got to him, I got into the hull with him, I got behind him. I put my arms under his arms and pinned him to our rescue sled."

"As time went on, I was getting colder and colder, and my arms and hands felt completely numb," said Esterling."

Michael Emmell from Millcreek Fire Company said, "He was minutes away from going under. He was panicking. He was ready to give up."

Finally, they were able to get him out of the pond and rushed him to Christiana Care Hospital where he was treated for hypothermia.

Friday night, his dogs are A-Okay and Esterling was back at work at his seafood restaurant and grateful to his rescuers and the couple who saw what happened and called for help.

"If it wasn't for the young couple there, things would have been a little different. I wish I had their names, but thank you," said Esterling.

Every winter the rescue team has to rescue someone from the icy waters.

They want to remind people to not take chances in the icy waters.

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