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Saginaw Bay and its Tributaries Saginaw Bay, Saginaw River, Tittabawasee River, Cass River, Shiawasee River, Flint River, etc.

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Old 03-10-2013, 10:06 PM
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Jason and I launched from Kirk Rd and headed towards the spark plug in my airboat. I helped Jason get set up to fish at the location we had caught walleyes 3 day's previous. Jason had the awful task of catching fish while I searched for better and more productive locations. I moved Jason until we were centered on the mother load. This was a practice that me and Jason repeated most the month of February without another fisherman in sight. It was the most fish we have caught in the 15 yrs of ice fishing the bay. It was now getting dark and we packed up to leave. To find the fish we had moved west from our track so we had set a new course to Kirk rd. We came to patch of water and looked for a way around it. I cross water often but when the temp is in the teens all the metal on the boat makes ice, adds weight and makes it heavy to load on the truck. It was U shaped piece of water. We had to go back to far to get around. There was only a short distance and decided to cross. We entered the water and it was business as usual. We had a slight cross wind so I added power and rudder to correct. I could see the edge better without the light. As we got closer I tapped Jason to turn on the light to see what the edge looked like. the instant the light came on I saw water almost level with the top of the boat I immediately added full power in an attempt to plane the boat. The boat dove under like submarine. Jason yelled "swim for the edge" We both swam for the edge. Jason was doing the back stroke and making much progress. I was making vary little. I saw a bucket and grabbed it I lifted it and trapped air in it. Tried to swim, still little to no progress. Not going to get to edge of ice. I looked for options. I see the boat upside down 10' away. Use all strength. Finally touch boat. The plastic on the bottom of the boat is held with a big C clamp. I was able to get my knee on the C clamp and work my way on the boat. It now enters my mind that nobody knows what has happened. I pray to god for help. I have a phone. Its a piece of junk that belongs to the company I work for. I need to get the phone out of my pocket. Can not feel anything from wrist down. Feel phone by pressing phone against my chest. unzip pocket by watching fingers hold zipper. Got phone. It works. Try to dial 911. Have to watch fingers closely. Several failed attempts. Get dispatch and yell; Saginaw Bay, in the water,7mi out Thomas rd! Loose service. Make 2 attempt and dispatch repeats but I loose service did not confirm. Jason yell's; Did you get someone? I yell: yes! My next move is the right one. I call my parents and rip their guts out. There is nobody in this world that cares for you more than your parents. they are going to get **** done. Jason yell's; Did you get a helicopter? I yell; yes! My parents connected the coast Guard with my nephew Greg. Greg fishes the same place. And was able to give GPS cords and get them moving in the right direction. My phone rings and its dispatch. I don't know who's dispatch. First came the Bay City police chopper to locate us they missed us 3 times. We were a needle in haystack. The communication between dispatch and myself is how the chopper located us. The police chopper gave cords to the coast guard. The rest of the story you can read and see just Google TV5 Saginaw bay rescue. I no longer heard Jason after the police helicopter left.................The Saginaw Bay is nothing more than a wild creature trying to kill you and eat you. Wild creatures can be subdued with proper weapons; Life jacket w/ red&white reflective strips wear it when traveling on Quad, snowmobile, boat, air boat. Cell phone in plastic bag. Put reflective tape on every thing that is going to float when you hit the water. Thank you for your prayers. And God Bless Everyone. Gary.
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:19 PM
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I'm glad you made it out ok Gary so sad about Jason. I hope everyone takes your advice an upgrades their safety equipment and take extreme caution. I have been through the ice a couple times and it is an instant numbing and unable to function properly. Again glad the outcome didn't take two lives but at the same time it hurts to see fellow fisherman loose a life. Wishing a full recovery to all involved in this tragic accident.


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Old 03-10-2013, 10:23 PM
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Goose bumps just reading it, wouldn't wish this on anyone to have to go through.


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Old 03-10-2013, 10:53 PM
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Thanks for sharing your story. It was hard to read so I can only imagine how hard it was to write. It makes me think twice about the safety equipment I have on both my atv and my boat. Maybe your story will save a life some day. Thanks again.
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:09 PM
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That is one of the hardest thing's I have ever had to read, I know your tired of hearing it but I am so sorry for your loss brother!
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:18 PM
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Sorry for your loss, your story will save many more lives in the future! You are in our thoughts and prayers!
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:20 PM
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Gary, glad your still with us. Sorry to here about your friend Jason. It's always tragic when something like this happen's . I feel for ya . Hang in there......Your story will open a lot of eye's to what they have for safety equipment, on everything that goes out on the bay or any body of water......
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:53 PM
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Sorry for your loss Gary but thanks for sharing. Just goes to show that anything is possible out there.

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Old 03-11-2013, 12:13 AM
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Wow.....tragedies like this make us all realize how fragile life is. Your decision to share this story will definitely influence the practices and choices other make in the future. I know they will with me....as I have the bad habit of not wearing a life jacket when I know I should.

Sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you, your family and Jason's family.


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Old 03-11-2013, 07:17 AM
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Had to be hard to tell the story but glad you have....I USE TO laugh at my friend every time we fish in the winter on ice or water he wears his hi vis mustang suit. I WILL BE GETTING 1 before next ice season.....so sorry for this for all the people involved. Hopefully others will learn from this and good will come out of tragedy.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:17 AM
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Thank you for sharing your story. Sorry for the loss of your buddy, but hopefully this will save someone else. The bay can be a scary place in a matter of seconds. Prayers go out to Jason's family.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:28 AM
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as said very hard to read but glad you made it out ..my wife and i sat here listening to the scanner till midnight when they called the search off ..we both were in disbelief that the state police chopper couldnt find ya ..thank you for telling your story on what happened gary we all no it has to be hard on ya ,,our prayers and thoughts are with you and hope that you can find peace ...from all the members here at m.s we wish you a speedy recovery .. sorry for your loss our thoughts and prayers are with you and jasons family.. mike and traci...
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:33 AM
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Alot of us are really happy for your survival. And our condolences for the loss of your friend.
Thank you for sharing.

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Old 03-11-2013, 08:41 AM
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I think I only took 2 breaths during the time I read that whole story. Good Lord Gary! A miracle you made it out. Thanks for telling us about it. So sorry for the loss of your friend Jason. Capnhook
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:57 AM
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Gary i am so glad you made it......Sorry about jason so sad ......thoughts are still with you both.... Safety is the the key here and you brought up very good points, now to get everyone to start doing it. You can never predict the unexpected but you can plan for a lot of it. and again thank you for telling your story I hope everyone reads it
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