Exclusive: Ice fall survivor left emotional after Mantua Reservoir rescue, thanks first responders

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MANTUA, Utah (ABC4 News) – On Wednesday, a Plain City man met with the officers who rescued him after his fall through the ice at the Mantua Reservoir.

Larry Mangum tells ABC4’s Northern Utah correspondent, Jordan Verdadeiro, if it weren’t for the first responders, he wouldn’t be alive.

“Their job saved my life… They are the only reason why I am standing here, talking to you today,” said Mangum.

Monday was supposed to be a relaxing day for 66-year-old Air Force Veteran Larry Mangum, ice fishing on the Mantua Reservoir, but it took a turn after he fell through the ice with his dog, Jersey.

“She tried to get out, would climb over my back and climb over my head, when she did the ice would break. Most of the time, she put me under the water for a bit,” he said.

Larry wore a harness, connected to an ice fishing sled which sunk, holding him down. Jersey got out of the water, but officials had to pull Larry out with a rope. Moments before that, Larry was ready to give up. 

“At least twice underwater, I opened my eyes and thought this is beautiful… This is peaceful… And then I kind of came to it and said, ‘you dummy, get your head back up and breathe!’” added Mangum.

Larry believes because he didn’t panic, he stayed alive. Looking back, he says he should have worn a harness that he could easily detach.

“I would have turned around, I would have hit solid ice, I wasn’t shot then, my sled hadn’t sunk, I’m pretty comfortable I could have pulled myself out,” he said.

His rescuers, Chief Michael Castro of Mantua Police and highway patrol trooper Jonathan Castillo gave Larry a badge, to honor the life-changing moment, for everyone.

Larry started a fundraiser to help the police department raise funds for ice rescue equipment. For more information: https://www.gofundme.com/f/ice-rescue-equipment?utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_lico+share-sheet

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