Wayne and Claudia Brood: Ice Escape
By Rob Hull
The 700 Club
Wayne and Claudia Brood are caretakers on a private island on the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. Most of the year they cross a quarter mile channel by boat to the mainland. But during the winter freeze they exchange the boat for a snowmobile and an ice bridge.
“I get nervous at times,” says Claudia, “especially at the beginning of the year when it’s just freezing up because there’s spots that don’t freeze up as well as other spots.”
“We’d been crossing by snowmobile for a couple of days already,” says Wayne.
“We really thought the ice was fine,” says Claudia. “The same place we’ve crossed for many, many years and as he started across he hit a slushy spot in the ice.”
“I throttled up on the snow machine but it just spun and it kept going down,” recalls Wayne.
“We just sunk into the ice,” says Claudia. The ice just kind of collapsed around us.”
“You’re moving along forward and then you’re dropping and the snow machine just kind of drops and you’re in the water floating,” says Wayne.
“I just knew that we were in trouble,” says Claudia. “I just immediately started praying to God because I didn’t know how we were going to get out of this situation. I wasn’t afraid of dying, but I was afraid of watching Wayne die because he wouldn’t have left me there, he would have done what he could to get me out.”
As they struggled in the freezing waters, Wayne’s brother in law Bert, who was visiting for the weekend, heard a noise that caught his attention.
“I just heard the snowmobile when he revved it up and spun out before it went down,” remembers Bert. “That’s what I heard and it sounded a little unusual that’s why I looked that way.”
“God really intervened,” says Wayne. “There’s no doubt about it cause had he not, I don’t think Bert would have heard us or seen us. The location he was at was quite distant.”
“I ran up into that boat shelter and the first thing I saw was that canoe sitting there,” remembers Bert. “So I grabbed this old canoe and shoved it out there and went behind it and used it as a platform to get on the weak ice.”
“He was pushing it out to Claudia and the ice was cracking as he’s going,” recalls Wayne.
Claudia remembers when Bert arrived, “the end of the canoe came out right over the end of the hole and he’s like, ‘grab a hold of the canoe and I’ll pull you out.’ I put my hands out to grab it but by that time my fingers weren’t bending anymore and I said, “Bert, I can’t do this.”
“I got a hold of her one hand and started pulling, trying to get her back on the ice,” says Bert. “By that time I see Wayne, he was starting to crawl out himself he was able to finally get up after he knew that I had a hold of Claudia he got out on the ice himself. He tried to come help me get Claudia out but the ice started to give way.”
“None of us, later on, could remember how I got into the canoe,” says Claudia. “To this day I don’t know how I got into the canoe, I was so tired”
“God was there, angels were there,” says Wayne. “Just one little miracle after another, God could have taken us home that day, but he chose not to.”
Moments later they were back at the house. They had survived.
“I stepped into the shower and Wayne put his arms around me,” remembers Claudia. “I just started sobbing and I was just praising God that I was alive.”
“When you’ve been together so many years and you realize how close you’ve come to being separated,” Wayne recalls.
Wayne and Claudia continue to cross the ice bridge. Always aware of how fragile life can be and thankful that they have been given more time.
“I know that I am here because god ordained it to be so,” says Claudia. “I’m not here because Bert saved me, I’m here because god wants me to be here. After it happened it really gave me freedom. I was able to share my faith and how I knew where I was going to spend eternity.”
“Thinking back to that day I’m glad I’m here, praise God,” says Wayne.
“God saved us twice in our lifetime,” says Claudia. “Once when Wayne and I trusted Jesus to be our savior and then again when he ordained, orchestrated our rescue that day out in the channel. From now until the day I die I will spend the rest of my life praising him and trying to live for him and to make good of the extra time that he has given me because I know that, I know that is why I’m here. If one thing it taught me is that life is very fragile you may not have tomorrow and my question to people would be are you ready? Are you ready to meet Jesus are you ready to stand before the god of all the universe, because it can happen so fast.”
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