Two fishermen and a Macomb County deputy pulled Korisa Miller out of the icy water after she slipped and fell in while fishing in Harrison Township, Michigan, on Monday.
The fall occurred after Miller tried to stand up and lost her footing, and she plunged into the icy waters of Lake St. Clair around 3:20 p.m EST.
According to a Facebook post from Macomb County Sheriff's Office, one of Miller's friends, Melissa Kovlowski, was only one dock away and looked over to see her struggling after hearing the fall. She tried to pull Miller up but was unable to, as her body had gone numb.
"I just kept screaming at her," Kovlowski told WXYZ-TV Detroit. "I said you gotta stay up, you gotta stay up, you gotta keep your head up."
Korisa Miller was in the water for about 15 minutes before being rescued. (Facebook / Macomb County Sheriff's Office)
Two other fishermen in the area came to help after hearing her cries, but they were also unable to pull her back onto the pier. The fishermen instead held her arms up to prevent her from drowning until the deputy arrived.
By the time the deputy made it to the scene along with the Harrison Fire Department, Miller had already been in the icy water for 15 minutes.
Miller was wearing a hoodie at the time she fell in, which had ended up floating around her neck, and the officers had to remove it so it would not choke her as she was pulled out of the lake.
Miller's body had gone numb, making it impossible for her friend to pull her up. (Facebook / Macomb County Sheriff's Office)
Body camera footage from the deputy shows him rushing to the pier where Miller had fallen. After he arrives, they were able to quickly pull her out of the icy water.
According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Paul Walker, the temperature in the area the day and time of the fall was around 35 degrees Fahrenheit, but because of 17-mph winds coming from the southwest and slight snow and freezing drizzle in the area, the RealFeel® Temperature was most likely in the high teens. In Detroit, about 26 miles away, the RealFeel® was 19 F.
The Facebook post said the water was 36 F that day; however, Walker said it may have actually been in the upper 20s, which he said was "something you don't want to expose your body to."
"You wouldn't want to be in the water with these temperatures," Walker said. "You could suffer from hypothermia very quickly."
Miller was "doing better" by the next day, according to the sheriff's office.
"Thank you everyone who had been praying for me and asking if I am okay," Miller posted on Facebook on Tuesday. "I am just bruised and sore but I am okay."
She went on in the Facebook post to respond to people who had body-shamed her after the video was released, and explained that "the reason why I gave permission to show the video is to show awareness on how dangerous fishing can be. I am glad I am alive and share my story. This isn't going to stop me from doing what I love. I am now keeping rope and life vests near me. So the Haters are going to hate and it isn't going to get me because of my story someone will not make that mistake."
Miller's fall took place while she was fishing in Lake St. Clair. (Youtube / WXYZ-TV Detroit)
The sheriff's office advised people who may end up in a similar situation not to panic and to get as much of your body out of the water as possible, stay close to the area rather than swim away, search for a personal floatation device in nearby water to put on if not already wearing one, leave clothing on and form a fetal position to reserve as much body heat as possible.
If you fall into water in a group of people, huddling together will help retain body heat and make the group more visible to rescuers, the sheriff's office said in a Facebook post.
They also recommend making very minimal movements if swimming is necessary so as to conserve energy and be prepared to flag down any potential rescuers passing by. After, they advise seeking immediate medical help.
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