WATERLOO | A Cedar Falls man and his teenage son are home safe after they became lost while fishing and spent the night in George Wyth State Park.
The rescue effort, which kicked off Wednesday morning, included police officers sounding sirens and concluded with a ride in a fire department rescue boat.
The two, Thomas Frazier Sr., and son, Martel, weren’t injured.
The father said he had been fishing at Wyth’s Brinker Lake before, but this is the first time they had set out in the newly expanded north pool that had been part of a quarry operation.
They arrived Tuesday evening, walked to a spot to put in a few lines.
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“It got dark too quick, and we tried to find our way out,” Thomas Frazier Sr., said.
“We just kept going in circles until we came back to the bank where we were fishing at. There were some cement slabs, and so we stayed on those,” he said.
They planned to give it another try in daylight and tried to rest overnight. For supplies, they brought drinking water and had jawbreakers and licorice for snacks.
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“We stayed up the whole time. We tried to lie on that concrete, but it was hard and cold. We got cold, and we’d get up and walk around to stay warm. We thought about building a fire, but we didn’t."
After dawn, they realized the path out wasn’t any clearer.
“We was going around in circles, kept taking the wrong way and kept coming back to the same spot,” the father said.
That’s when they called 911.
Black Hawk County Dispatchers plotted Frazier’s cell phone, and Waterloo police drove into the park and ran their sirens in an attempt to give the fishermen a signal to help them navigate.
It turned out they were on the other side of the lake, and a fisherman in a boat spotted them. Waterloo Fire Rescue was called, and the department’s boat reached the pair and returned them to lake’s parking lot where their car sat.
Before the ordeal of finding their way home, the two didn’t have any luck fishing.
“They weren’t keepers — undersized bass, so they had to go back, and a small blue gill,” he said.