A 39-year-old man who drowned after falling through ice while fishing Friday near Medora was a great guy who was good with kids, especially his own, said some of those who knew him.
“He was a very good person who never talked bad about anyone,” Jeremy Steinkamp said of Cole C. Cummings of Medora who was fishing with a friend at Black Swan Lake when he fell through the ice.
Cummings’ fishing partner, whose name was not available at press time, attempted to save him but also fell through the ice. He was able to get out of the water, crawl to his vehicle and drive to the residence of Cummings’ girlfriend, which was nearby. From there, a 911 call was placed. That was at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Cummins’ parents also were called and drove to the lake, but they also were unable to help their son.
Jackson County Officer Dustin Steward, who responded with Jackson County officers and a Brownstown officer, also fell into the water during an attempt to rescue Cummings, but he was able to get out. He and the other officers had put on lifejackets and crossed the ice in an attempt to rescue Cummings with a throw bag.
Cumming was found at about 11:25 p.m. Friday by Indiana Conservation Officer divers Joe Tenbarge and Ryan Jahn in more than 11 foot of water, according to a news release from Indiana Conservation Officer Jim Schreck. Conservation officers first located the victim with a remote operated vehicle prior to the divers’ recovery.
Steinkamp, who went to high school with Cummings, said he was very good with his own kids, who have very good manners.
“He passed that onto them,” the Brownstown resident said. “He had a love for basketball and baseball. He never turned down a kid who wanted to throw a ball back and forth or shoot some hoops. He was very good with them. He will be missed.”
Ryan Hehman said Cummings’ family was his life.
“I admired that about him,” Hehman said. “He would help anyone in anyway he could.”
Cummings’ fishing partner was airlifted to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for treatment from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department in Brownstown. He is expected to recover.
Assisting agencies at the scene included troopers with the Indiana State Police and Owen Township Volunteer Fire Department.