Four children avoided being hospitalized but are still dealing with mild hypothermia after being pulled from the icy waters of a small lake on Thursday afternoon.
"I was thinking I was going to die," recalled 9-year-old Ryan Dugan. "[The water] was up to about my neck and I was trying to doggie paddle to the shore."
Dugan, a fourth grader, had followed three neighborhood boys onto Third Lake, near Grayslake, shortly before 5 p.m. when all four broke through the ice and went under. The children were about 50 feet from shore in one direction and about 20 feet away in the other, said Grayslake Fire Protection District Lt. Mike Lakins.
"I was working on the computer and my kids came in yelling that someone fell through the ice," said neighbor Robert George. "So I ran out, dressed in a T-shirt and sweatpants, and saw that two of them were out a ways and two others were closer, and there were some adults trying to throw them a rope."
George said he and two other neighbors helped pull the kids ashore.