WRIGHTWOOD (CBSLA.com) —A man fell through a frozen lake in Wrightwood Christmas day and the dramatic rescue was caught on tape.

The incident occurred at Jackson Lake.

According to witnesses, people were sledding on the lake believing it was frozen over enough to support their weight but an unidentified man fell through around noon.

As a crowd tried to help him, other people started to fall through. Witnesses said at least a dozen people ended up in the water.

Some in the crowd threw inner tubes in an effort to help.

Acton resident Mickey Herman captured the entire ordeal on tape.

When he and his wife Michelle first arrived at the lake, they shared a thought. “That ice isn’t very deep.”

They watched people walk back and forth – even watched a man walk his dog on the relatively thin ice.

After the first man fell in, the couple was stricken with fear. Said Michelle, “We saw his arms flail. Someone said ‘He can’t swim’ and it just turned into panic.”

Mickey told CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Rachel Kim, “It was hard to watch, it really was. We saw that guy go under three times and the third time, we didn’t think he was coming back up.”

Mickey ran to his car for some rope. It was 25-feet and was coming up “about 7 feet short.”

People were throwing ropes and inner tubes at other people who at this point were also in the water trying to rescue the first man.

After about eight minutes, the Hermans said a man sled in and helped get the first man out. “Fortunately, he was a strong swimmer and he grabbed the original guy and helped him over to the inner tube.”

Michelle was thankful the man was rescued. “It was Christmas day. We were thinking of the man in the cold water … he could have died. We’re just happy they got out.”

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