Olive Branch men save woman, dog from drowning after falling into frozen pond

OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. — A 74-year-old Olive Branch woman feels lucky to be alive after she and her dog fell into an iced-over pond on Monday.

Investigators say it happened after the dog walked out on the ice, and the woman went to follow her pet.

If it wasn’t for the help of some people in her neighborhood, the woman might not be here today.

“I heard the geese barking and thought maybe a dog had fallen into the ice,” Jim Huselton of Olive Branch said. “I came out to my patio and saw that dog had arms.”

It’s a sight Huselton said he could never have prepared for.

The woman and her dog were struggling to survive after falling through the iced-over pond in his backyard.

“Out of the whole neighborhood, I thought Steve is probably the strongest. So I automatically thought to call Steve and then call 911,” Huselton said.

Huselton immediately called Steve Hopper, who’s visiting his dad next door.

They both rushed down to the pond, and Hopper used an extension cord to pull the woman and her pet to safety.

“I pulled out several inches and let the cord out and was able to complete the cast across her shoulder, probably 30 to 35 feet out,” Hopper said.

Hopper, a trained lifeguard, said if the woman was in the water much longer, she could have died.

“I know with the exposure and how cold the water was, timing was of the essence,” he said.

Together, Huselton and Hopper helped to prevent what could have been a tragedy. But they say they were just doing what anyone would have in that situation.

“I’m thankful I came to visit my dad, and we were here,” Hopper said. “God had us in the right place at the right time.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, the woman was still in the hospital for observation. Huselton and Hopper were able to speak with her and say she’s doing well and feels lucky to be alive.