The Barron County Sheriff's Office has released body camera video of a deputy falling through thin ice on a western Wisconsin lake.
It happened just after midnight on Saturday, March 19, on Prairie Lake, as two deputies were searching for a snowmobiler who had broke through the ice.
Deputies Eric Sedani and Heather Hughes were the responding deputies, and Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald has since identified Hughes as the deputy who fell through the ice and held onto the 38-year-old snowmobiler for approximately 30 minutes while they were both in the water. The department is still trying to recover her body camera video.
But Sedani's body camera video has been recovered, and it shows the moment he fell through the ice while walking out towards an area of open water.
"Hey, Nick, how thick of ice are we talking about?" Sedani says (at the 3:25 mark in the video) as he walks toward Hughes and two others who were assisting in the search.
"Yeah, I figured with it melting the s*** wasn't going to be marked right," Sedani adds, seconds later breaking through the ice and plunging into the frigid water.
Sedani was in the water for about 25 seconds before he was helped out, according to Fitzgerald. After crawling to a safer area, he gets up and walks to a UTV and is driven back to a landing to warm up at a bar.
After they leave, Hughes "hears something" and spots the snowmobiler in the water. She radio'd the information to dispatch and then fell through herself, ultimately staying with the 38-year-old in the freezing water for about a half-hour.
Because her equipment was in the water for a long time, attempts to restore her body camera video are not yet done. If it is restored, Fitzgerald says he will release it to the public.
Hughes was hospitalized overnight before being released the next morning. The snowmobiler, a 38-year-old Menomonie man, was hospitalized in a serious-but-stable condition.
"A special commendation will be given at a later time to the deputies, who without hesitation, risked their lives to save someone else," Fitzgerald said.