The woman who passed away after being pulled from the cold waters of Lake Lucille is being credited with attempting to swim to shore for help, according to Wasilla Police Department spokesperson Rick Manrique.
Michael Sexton, 24, of Palmer, could not swim, according to an interview he provided to Manrique. After plunging into the water, Sexton managed to stay afloat by clinging to his submerged canoe, he said, while his companion, 20-year-old Arielle Hausmann, of Wasilla, attempted to swim to shore for help, Manrique said.
When a nearby Lake Lucille neighbor heard screams coming from the lake, the neighbor got in a boat and was able to locate Sexton and bring him to shore, Manrique explained. The neighbor was unable to locate Housman, though.
By the time search and rescue crews did locate the 20-year-old woman, she was already submerged in the lake’s frigid waters.
Despite successful efforts made to rescue Hausmann, hospital crews were unable to save her, according to Manrique.
Hausmann had been submerged in the lake for more than an hour, Manrique said.
Manrique noted Sexton is expected to make a full recovery.
Mat-Su Borough emergency medical swift water rescue and Wasilla Police Department assisted in the rescue of the pair from the lake early Wednesday morning.
Manrique explained Troopers and WPD were dispatched to the area after receiving calls of screaming coming from the area of the lake. Manrique said crews would later discover Sexton and Housman had gone canoeing in the lake late Tuesday night.
Upon arrival investigators quickly discovered the submerged canoe and Sexton, who was taken to Mat-Su Regional Hospital for treatment.
Investigators then deployed search vessels as well as divers into the lake in an attempt to locate the Hausmann, Manrique said.
Hours later, Mat-Su Borough emergency medical swift water rescue would discover Hausmann submerged in the cold waters.
Crews noted the cold waters may have actually worked toward delaying any onset of damages to the brain due to the near-drowning.
Manrique noted alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the apparent accident.
This is a developing story. Check back later with KTUU.com for more details.
Channel 2 reporter Garrett Turner and Mallory Peebles contributed to this report.
Editor's Note: Earlier information gathered from the Wasilla Police Department inaccurately referred to Hausmann as a 16-year-old. The story was updated with her correct age.