‘I just felt I might die:’ Woman describes falling through ice on Mississippi River trying to rescue dog

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis. (WKBT)- A woman who was rescued after falling through the ice on the Mississippi River is talking about her terrifying experience.

Jennifer Clements, 72, her dog Dexter, and a male companion were walking near the Mississippi and St. Feriole Island in Prairie du Chien on January 15th went things went downhill quickly.

She says Dexter first ran onto a dock in the marina, which he’s done before, but then jumped onto the ice to chase after a bird. He almost immediately broke through and went into the water.

Jennifer says she panicked and threw down her purse and went out to help him. But then she broke through herself.

“We’re both in the water in the same hole, both hanging on to the ice and my sweetheart didn’t have his phone with him so he couldn’t call 911 and he didn’t know what to do so he was looking around for a passerby and after quite a few minutes, a passerby came and he asked him to call 911,” said Jennifer.

Two of the rescuers fell in trying to save Jennifer and Dexter, but they were able to eventually get everyone out of the water to safety.

Jennifer says police told her that she went under 3 times and they were unsure if they were going to be able to save her.

“I didn’t know if I was going to make it. I just felt like I might die. I was so cold, I just felt like I was frozen and said to the paramedic ‘am I going to die’ and he didn’t answer me, I though ‘oh no, I shouldn’t have asked.'”

Jennifer was able to meet her rescuers this week and thank them in person. Luckily, she has no permanent injuries.

She only spent about 4 or 5 hours in the hospital that day.

She was told that rescuers would’ve come just for her dog even if she hadn’t fallen in trying to rescue him herself.