Wellsville (NY) Man, Dog Recovering After Rescue From Icy Genesee River

Chris Potter

The Evening Tribune, Hornell, N.Y.

(MCT)

Feb. 15—WELLSVILLE — A Wellsvilleman and his dog are recovering after being rescued from the icy Genesee River Friday afternoon.

Louie Gordnierhad his dog, Takota, out for a walk in the noon hour when the beagle lit out onto the iced-over river, possibly enticed by some wildlife in the distance. The ice gave way and the beagle plunged into the middle of the river. Gordnier, 64, went out after his dog and successfully pulled him from the water, but the struggle left him partially submerged as well. He worked his way back to the edge of the river and, exhausted and freezing, his phone killed by the water, called out for help.

A group of Alfred State students working in the auto yard on the other side of the river heard his cries and called 911.

“We were quite surprised they were able to hear him,” said Chris Martelle, the town of Wellsville’sEmergency Management Coordinator. “If those college students weren’t out there, it could have been a different scenario.”

Wellsvillefirst responders arrived on the scene and went to work getting Gordnier and Takota to safety. Emergency personnel got both into a Stokes basket and roped them up to an offroad unit, where a medic and an EMT awaited to prep them for transport to the ambulance.

In the meantime, Public Works crews from both the town and the village were hard at work clearing away snow that complicated the rescue effort. First responders staged in the parking area at the falls, the edge of where the town plows; the pair were stranded on the riverbank roughly three-tenths of a mile further south, Martelle estimated.

“They moved a part of the pile so we could get out easier,” Martelle said. “It was rough getting out at first but it was a lot easier to get back out when the village and the town were there with loaders moving snow.”

Martelle estimated it took an hour from the time of the call to the victims arriving at the ambulance. Gordnier was Mercy Flighted to Rochesterfor hypothermia precautions and treatment of minor facial injuries. Takota was in rougher shape but had a shorter trip and was transported to the Wellsville Veterinary Hospital.

Both were recovering Friday evening. The temperature at the time of the incident was around 10 degrees, Martelle said.

“All in all they’re both doing great, considering what happened,” Martelle said. “Without the college students being out there it might have been a different outcome.”

Alfred State Collegesaid the students included David Snyder, Kameron Mills, Jack Derby, Owen Brewsterand Alex Tanerski. Gordnier thanked the students and all the first responders who helped in the rescue. He returned home Friday night and was looking forward to reuniting with Takota Saturday.

Also responding to the scene during the incident were Wellsville EMS and Rescue, village police, NYS Policeand the Alfred PD, along with town highway, village, water and DPW personnel.

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