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First responders: Stay off the Sanford Lake bed after man got trapped in mud

 First responders again are warning everyone to stay off Sanford Lake after a man got trapped in mud up to his abdomen, requiring an extensive rescue effort.
First responders again are warning everyone to stay off Sanford Lake after a man got trapped in mud up to his abdomen, requiring an extensive rescue effort. (WJRT)
Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 5:30 PM EDT
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(06/17/2020) - First responders are issuing another warning for people to stay out of the Sanford Lake bed after a man got trapped in mud.

"He sank up to the upper part of his abdomen, but he didn't sink near his chest area, so he was still able to breath," said Jerome Township Fire Chief Jerry Cole.

That small but significant difference was one of two things that may have saved a man's life Tuesday after he became trapped in mud on Sanford Lake.

"Being entrapped in mud is no different than being in a trench or excavation cave," Cole said.

The incredible effort by first responders also helped save the man's life.

"We used some old docks we found in the area to get a work platform, so we wouldn't sink in the mud with him," Cole said.

He said rescuing the man was no easy task.

"It took three attempts to free him from the mud," Cole said

First responders were called the area around 3 p.m. Tuesday .

"Some people are out there looking for their boats or docks and a lot of people are playing around with their side by sides, or just walking around looking for stuff," said Edenville Fire Chief Roger Dufresne.

Some of the lake bed is stable, but much of it is not -- and determining what is safe is nearly impossible.

"There are pockets out there that look very safe, they're crusted over, but these spots contain anywhere from 30 to 70% moisture in the air. So as you start providing force on those, vibrations or anything of the sort, they become unstable," said Midland County Acting Operations Chief Erick Forshee

Stepping in the wrong place can put not only one person's life at risk, but also those called to rescue them.

"This isn't the first time. There's more people out there all the time," said Dufresne.

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