PUTNAM VALLEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A fast-thinking family are being praised as heroes after pulling a man from an icy lake and saving his life.

Bruce Kuttruff and his family say they saw a neighbor of theirs drowning in the freezing waters off of Lake Oscawana around 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday night, reports CBS2’s Scott Rapoport.

“I hear a scream for help,” said Kuttruff. “You’re a man in distress. It’s a haunting sound. You hear a person crying for help.”

He says the victim was riding this ATV on the lake when the ice gave, leaving him trapped and unable to escape some 70 feet away from dry land.

“I see a floating head on the water, and that’s all l I see,” said Kuttruff.

The family called first responders who raced to the scene, but it was a dark night with zero visibility.

“This is an unknown area,” said 14-year-old Zachary Kuttruff. “There’s no GPS. It’s kind of different.”

MORE: NYPD Practicing Ice Rescue Techniques, Urging Caution On Trusting Not-So-Frozen Water

Zachary, a Boy Scout, knew the situation was dire and ran out to the road to guide first responders to the lake where the drama was unfolding.

Once there, his mom Jennifer got out a 50-foot-long electrical cord and gave it to rescuers who threw it out onto the ice to the victim and pulled him back in to safety just in time.

“Hypothermia sets in, I think 10 to 15 minutes he was in there,” said Putnam Valley Fire Department Chief Larry Cobb Jr. “Probably another five minutes would’ve been a lot worse.”


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