Man falls through thin ice trying to save dog

Posted: 12/28/12 at 11:00 am EST      Last Updated: 12/28/12 at 1:22 pm EST

UNDATED (NBC) -- A man on a mission to rescue a dog stranded on frozen Lake Erie needed some rescuing of his own after falling through the thin ice.

During an afternoon walk with his owner, Bart, an 11-year old Walker Hound, wandered away and fell through the ice on Lake Erie.

"I tried to walk around to him and it was just too deep and I couldn't get to him," said Bart's owner, Jim Swayze.

Waist deep in freezing water, Swayze called 911-and then he called his cousin Lance who arrived first.

With his waders on, Lance ventured out, taking a chance on every step.

"It broke and I fell in and I was probably about 3 and half feet deep," said Lance Eicher.

He finally reached Bart, who spent an hour and a half in the frigid water. Lance held him close before they were rescued.

"I kind of looked and went what if it was my dog, what if I was in the same situation, I would hope somebody would try to do something," said Eicher.

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