Jaime Snedden, 45, was walking on a shoreline near the community of Anchor Point on the Kenai Peninsula this weekend. It was in those moments that he made a choice: Life is precious.
Snedden wound up clinging to a chunk of ice for more than 30 minutes in frigid water when the shoreline ice broke loose and carried him out into Cook Inlet. Once rescued, he was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia. He was expected to fully recover, Alaska Wildlife Troopers said.
I don’t know that I could hold out for 30 minutes in freezing water. Maybe if I had someone I loved being very visible to the situation. Otherwise, doubt it.
Anyways, Snedden “was reported to have been walking along the shoreline on the ice when it broke free and drifted into Cook Inlet with the outgoing current,” Troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain said in an email to The Associated Press on Monday.
From there he was swept about 300 yards out into the inlet, near the mouth of the Anchor River. (which is where I would have died.)
Alaska Wildlife Trooper Jeremy Baum arrived and saw only Snedden’s head and arms visible above water as he clung to the ice chunk.
His fishing boat was about 3 miles away and responded to an urgent marine broadcast seeking help. The Misty arrived about the same time as Baum, who launched an inflatable pack raft and rowed to Snedden’s location.
Snedden was pulled aboard the Misty, with assistance from the ship’s captain, Shane Balkely, and his clients.
“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.
Snedden was conscious and breathing, but very hypothermic after being in the cold water between 30 and 40 minutes. The U.S. Coast Guard reported the air temperature was 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-1.11 Celsius), and the water was 38 F (3.33 C).
The Misty maneuvered to within 100 yards (91 meters) of the Anchor Point boat launch area to meet awaiting medics.
Snedden was then transferred to the Misty’s 8-foot (2.4-meter) inflatable raft. Using both the smaller pack raft and the Misty’s raft, Baum rowed Snedden back to shore.
Attempts Monday to contact Snedden were not immediately successful.
Photo by Andrew Tang on Unsplash