Call to 9-1-1 saves pair from icy waters of Shadow Mountain Reservoir |

Call to 9-1-1 saves pair from icy waters of Shadow Mountain Reservoir

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County, CO Colorado

Two men who ended up in a partially frozen reservoir were rescued after suffering 30 minutes in the frigid water.

Having launched their canoe at the Green Ridge boat ramp on the southern end of Shadow Mountain Reservoir on Monday, Joshua Massengill, 23, and Thomas Church, 41, of Granby, were located about 1,000 feet off shore when their canoe tipped.

The individuals tried to swim to shore, but the cold water “overwhelms so fast,” said Grand County Emergency Medical Services Chief Ray Jennings. “It doesn’t take long to become hypothermic in it.”

The fact that they had life vests on saved their lives, he said, because hypothermia robs the body of energy and the ability to stay above water.

Greg Zimmerman and Linda Isreal, who just moved to Grand Lake last week, had completed their walk along the shore and were ready to get into the car to go home, but their Bernese mountain dog Turalu had muddy paws from the walk.

They needed to be washed off before he got into the car, so Isreal went down to the edge of the water with the dog.

It was then she heard screams.

Isreal spotted the two men and called 911 on her cell phone at around 4 p.m. It’s estimated the men had fallen into the water about 10 minutes earlier.

A Grand Lake Fire crew responded with a Zodiac boat. When the boat’s motor seized halfway out, the firefighters aggressively paddled to get to the men, according to Isreal.

“They responded quick, and the fire chief was great,” she said.

Isreal described Massengill as “more conscious,” and Church as “starting to lose consciousness” when the rescuers brought them to shore. Grand County EMS transported them to the Granby Medical Center for treatment of hypothermia; eventually they were released.

“One party was inexperienced in operating a canoe and caused a balancing problem,” according to the report of sheriff responder Deputy Dale Schmidt.

Efforts to contact Massengill and Church were unsuccessful.

Only two other anglers were in the area at that time, according to Isreal, but they had already entered their vehicle and were about to leave.

If Turalu hadn’t had muddy paws, Isreal said she fears of what may have happened.

“The dog saved the day,” she said.

– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail

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