Man drowns trying to save dogs that fell through icy lake, crews believe

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MYERS, Calif. (CNN/WFLA) — A missing California man died trying to rescue his dogs from an icy lake, rescue crews believe.

David Schmidt, 39, was walking his three dogs along a lake Thanksgiving morning in Myers. Chilly temperatures had most of the lake frozen over, but experts say the ice was still two inches too thin for safe crossing.

It’s believed the dogs walked on to the lake and fell through the ice.

“When we got there, we made our way down the lake and we saw the two dogs in the water,” Capt. Perry Quinn with the Lake Valley Fire District said.

Quinn said his crew knew they had to move fast to bring the pets to safety.

“It’s amazing how resilient dogs can be,” he said. “They could have potentially been in the water for an hour or more. We’re not sure. They were still paddling and alive when we got there.”

After pulling the dogs out, the crew noticed a man’s winter clothing floating in the water.

“That’s when we noticed that an owner or human might be in the water also.”

Multiple rescue agencies began searching the lake for the man’s body, which was located the next day.

Crews believe Schmidt died trying to save his dogs, and help came too late.

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