Good Samaritans rush to save herd of elk that fall through ice into frigid water

Around two dozen people jumped into action Friday morning when a herd of elk suddenly fell through the ice at Palisad...

Posted: Jan 1, 2018 11:36 AM
Updated: Jan 1, 2018 11:36 AM

Around two dozen people jumped into action Friday morning when a herd of elk suddenly fell through the ice at Palisades Reservoir.

The incident happened around 7:30 a.m. near the Alpine Feed Ground in Alpine, Wyoming. Temperatures were near 32 degrees when the animals suddenly dropped into the freezing water.

"I was headed into Jackson to go to work and I noticed a couple cars pulled over," Dusty Jones tells EastIdahoNews.com. "I looked off to the left and saw a couple of guys beating on the ice with a herd of elk right there in front of them."

Jones ran down to the ice and called a friend to bring him a chainsaw. There were around a dozen elk in the frigid water, which Jones says measured 8-10 feet deep, and suddenly people started appearing to help.

"Before you knew it, there were 30-40 people there," Jones said. "We began cutting a little path toward the shore so the animals could walk out but they were so cold they couldn't move. That's when we just started grabbing them and pulling them out."

Officials with the Wyoming Game & Fish Department and deputies with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office were on hand to help. Good Samaritans with crowbars, ice augers, chainsaws, tow straps, ropes and other equipment worked to free the animals.

"Somebody had a backhoe that we were able to put two calves into the bucket and transport them to the Alpine Feed Ground," Wyoming Game & Fish Biologist Gary Fralick told SVI's Dan Dockstader.

Jones worried the ice might collapse but said it was around 4 inches thick and nobody fell in. The elk just happened to be standing in an area where the ice was thinner due to thermal spring action, according to Fralick.

"There normally isn't any water there at all," Jones said. "We had so much snow last winter that lake runoff caused this part of the reservoir to be full all summer and fall."

One by one, each of the 13 elk was pulled to safety. Two of the calves were severely stressed and could not get up, according to Fralick. Once they were taken to another area, they were released and stood up with the rest of the herd.

"No elk died, which is awesome," Jones said. "It was such a great thing. We lost 30 elk three years ago that broke through the ice and they all drowned."

Fralick credits community members for helping with the situation and said if nobody had stopped, several of the animals likely would have died.

"There's no way the Game and Fish Department alone could have made this work with the number of elk that were in the ice." Fralick said. "It was totally impressive to watch. I applaud the community support in this effort."

West Lafayette
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 39°
Kokomo
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 38°
Rensselaer
Overcast
37° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 37°
Fowler
Overcast
37° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 37°
Williamsport
Overcast
38° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 34°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 40°
Frankfort
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 40°
Delphi
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 39°
Monticello
Overcast
39° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 39°
Logansport
Overcast
39° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 39°
Chilly and cloudy Tuesday
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 164581

Reported Deaths: 4143
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion26055792
Lake14436358
St. Joseph9606168
Elkhart9271138
Allen8647231
Hamilton6400115
Vanderburgh617162
Tippecanoe396715
Porter347550
Hendricks3418134
Monroe335638
Johnson3286130
Delaware311575
Clark306263
Vigo275340
Madison250896
LaPorte239261
Cass229724
Warrick205065
Kosciusko201127
Floyd187468
Howard169466
Bartholomew147958
Marshall147428
Dubois146426
Wayne142031
Grant133539
Henry133030
Boone129150
Hancock124744
Noble122935
Jackson121018
Dearborn103128
Morgan100340
Lawrence96838
Gibson94412
Clinton92416
Daviess92334
Shelby90632
LaGrange82815
Knox81810
Harrison81024
Posey7767
Putnam77616
Fayette76719
DeKalb76011
Jasper6885
Miami6715
Steuben6608
Montgomery63122
White62316
Greene57838
Adams5607
Scott55413
Decatur52839
Ripley4838
Whitley4836
Clay4617
Sullivan45714
Wells45611
Huntington4455
Starke4438
Wabash4439
Orange42425
Spencer4176
Randolph39210
Jennings38713
Washington3873
Franklin38325
Fulton3785
Perry36914
Jefferson3655
Pike35718
Carroll34313
Jay3386
Fountain3293
Tipton28423
Vermillion2721
Parke2564
Rush2464
Blackford2394
Newton23711
Owen2151
Martin2050
Pulaski1783
Crawford1631
Brown1473
Ohio1337
Union1140
Benton1130
Switzerland980
Warren911
Unassigned0236

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events