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Stevens Point couple rescues man from Wisconsin River


STEVENS POINT, Wis, (WSAU) -- A Stevens Point man is lucky to be alive after his boat capsized in the Wisconsin River Friday morning.

Portage County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Jim Pozniak says 64-year-old Lawrence Meixner was fishing near the Highway HH boat landing in the Town of Linwood West of Stevens Point.

Pozniak says neighbors downstream saw Meixner clinging to the boat and calling for help.  “A husband and wife saw this guy clinging to a capsized boat going down the river, and she called 9-1-1, and he jumped into the neighbor’s pontoon boat and went out and rescued the guy.”

Meixner was taken to a waiting ambulance, and rushed to St. Michael’s Hospital for treatment.  “He was so cold, he could barely talk out at the scene, because that water is just above freezing, you know, the cold temperatures.”

The couple that spotted the victim was Marilyn and Ron Flood. Pozniak says their quick action likely saved Meixner’s life.  “We had our boat out there along with the Fire Department, but by then, the neighbors had him out of the water already, which was really, really good.”

Pozniak says the high current mixed with an anchor is a bad combination on the unpredictable river.  “He was actually anchored, and he admits that he shouldn’t have been anchored in that fast moving current, and that’s what kind of tipped the boat over.”

Lieutenant Pozniak does a lot of fishing when he’s not on duty, and knows the river well. He said with the fishing opener this weekend, he would actually wait before going out on the water.  “Stay home and wait for next weekend.  It might be better because on the river right now, the water is extremely high and extremely cold, and you’ll only last a few minutes in that water, so I would wait for better conditions.”