Firefighter, Teen Rescued From Icy Waters

Christmas Rescue Saves Two Lives

December 26, 2002

Detroit, MI - Two men braved icy waters to save a volunteer firefigther and his neighbor on Christmas Day. A Spencer Township volunteer firefighter is thanking two men who rescued him and his 13-year-old neighbor from Lincoln Lake in northeast Kent County, where they were stuck and freezing after a hovercraft capsized, according to the Grand Rapids Press. Chris Lange was operating his hovercraft on the ice-covered part of the lake near open water about 3 p.m. on Wednesday when the craft capsized, the paper reported. The 13-year-old was thrown into the water, but Lange was able to pull him back in. According to the paper, neither wore life jackets. Lange told the paper he turned the vehicle over when the drain plug popped out and water started coming in. "I got the boy on top (of the hovercraft), and I stayed in the water, trying to drag it back to shore," Lange said. Lange's struggle ended when two local residents drove their boat out to save them. Kim Souders, 50, of Grand Rapids, and Tim Gavit, 45, of Belding, were at their in-laws' Spencer Township home when they saw the capsized vehicle out a window facing Lincoln Lake, the paper reported. Gavit and Souders paddled a fishing boat belonging to their father-in-law across the lake and helped the two victims to the back of their boat, according to the paper. Lange and the teen were treated in an ambulance for minor hypothermia. Lange told the paper he's putting the hovercraft up for sale because he feels guilty about so many people having to rescue him on Christmas.