Witness discusses drowning victim rescue attempt


WICHITA, Kansas – A Wichita man and his girlfriend tried to save the Wichita woman who died Sunday as she went onto the ice to save her dog.

“What caught our attention was she was yelling, and we looked over and we see her dog running on the ice coming towards us,” says Aaron Frazier. “She’s just screaming at the dog to come back to her.”

Frazier says the woman went out, onto the ice.

“She decides to take a step on the ice, in the ice, and keeps working her way to the dog in the freezing ice,” explains Frazier.

Frazier says he immediately ran to get his phone to call 911.

Aaron sprinted to the distance from the lake to his apartment a couple hundred yards away to get his phone.

“I normally always have my phone with me,” says Frazier. “But this time I didn’t. I had to get my phone.”

Next, 28-year-old Erika Owen fell through the ice at Chisholm Lake off K-96 and Woodlawn.

“She (Owen) had jumped. I don’t know what she was thinking because I just saw her get initially in the water and then right away, I’m like, I need my phone,” said Aaron.

On Aaron’s 911 call, you can hear him running back to the woman in the water.AUDIO | Aaron’s 911 call (edited)

Aaron: They are in the middle of the lake. We need somebody.
Dispatch: They are in the middle of the lake?
Aaron: Yes.

Aaron said he and his girlfriend both though about getting out on the ice to help before emergency responders could get there.

Dispatch: Okay, I need you not to put yourself in any danger. We have units in route.
Aaron: Okay. They’re still in the water.
Dispatch: They are still in the water?

As the woman went under, Aaron was told to not put anyone else in danger, even though he and his girlfriend say they were desperate to help.

Aaron: She is swimming towards the dog, in the middle. There is nothing we can do right now but wait. Ok. I’m sorry. We’re not all going in the water.

“No, my initial thought, and my girlfriend wanted to go out there (on the ice) and right away, I had told her no, we can’t go out on the ice, because you just can’t go out on the ice and risk any more people being injured,” says Frazier. “Because just like, there’s no guarantee for her to get out of the water, there’s definitely no guarantee for us to get out of the water.”

While the 911 operator told Frazier and his girlfriend to stay off the ice, they also asked Frazier to direct them to where Owen had gone under.

First responders with the fire department were on the scene in less than five minutes, but by then, it was too late.

Firefighters from both the county and City of Wichita responded together, but the woman and the dog did not make it out alive.

“It’s just a terrible tragedy,” says Frazier.

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