Andrea Gail Aites saved Joshua D. Cooper from drowning, Oscoda, Michigan, January 10, 2007. Joshua, 6, and two other boys were playing on the ice of partially frozen Van Etten Lake when they broke through at a point about 40 feet from the bank. They shouted for help as they struggled to stay afloat in the 37-degree water. Aites, 55, homemaker, was visiting at a nearby residence and heard the boys. Taking two dock buoys with her, she ran to the scene as she called 911. She stepped onto the ice and started toward the boys, crawling on her stomach as she approached the open water. Near the edge of the ice, Aites tossed one of the buoys out, and Joshua grasped it. Aites pulled him onto the ice and then stood and started to carry him to the bank. When they were about midway back, the ice broke, depositing them into water that was wadable for Aites. She broke the ice in front of her as she continued toward the bank with Joshua. A man who lived nearby responded about then. He entered the lake, made his way to one of the other boys, and took him to the bank. The third boy submerged, and his body was recovered the next day. Joshua and the other rescued boy required hospital treatment for hypothermia, and Aites was cold and sore after the rescue. They recovered.
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