Man safe after breaking through Mendenhall Lake

‘Good citizen’ provides rescue

Juneau resident Bob Funk was riding his bike on frozen Mendenhall Lake Sunday, and next thing he knew, he broke through the ice and was submerged in icy water.

Luckily, a good Samaritan was on scene — an ice skater with a throw rope — who helped rescue him and “very probably helped save my life,” Funk said.

In an interview with the Empire on Moday, Funk said that he was racing near the face of the glacier when he broke through thin ice. He was with his 9-year-old grandson and a friend, also on bikes, at the time, enjoying a cold snap along with dozens of other skaters, hockey players, hikers and bikers.

“I think I got overconfident and was going too fast and not paying attention to what was in front of me,” he said, adding he didn’t realize he was on thin ice until it was too late.

Capital City Fire/Rescue Assistant Chief Chad Cameron said CCFR received an emergency call about the incident just after 2 p.m. After the good citizen thew a rope in to aid Funk out of the frigid glacier water, Funk made his way back to shore by bike.

“We were told the person was riding a bike coming on in and was very cold,” Cameron said. “So we waited at the shore until they got there and got them in a warm ambulance and got some of their wet clothing off. They chose not to go to Bartlett Regional Hospital, so once we got them warm, they were released.”

CCFR responded to a similar incident of a dog falling through the Mendenhall ice a few days earlier, Cameron said. Crews were quickly called off when the dog escaped the water on its own.

Cameron said Mendenhall Lake’s ice thickness is variable but ice near the glacier’s face and Nugget Falls always merit extra caution.

“There’s hidden dangers out there all the time,” he said.


• Contact reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com.


People on Mendenhall Lake on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

People on Mendenhall Lake on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

The Mendenhall Glacier. (Juneau Empire file)

The Mendenhall Glacier. (Juneau Empire file)

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