A woman is thanking a propane delivery man for helping save her life, after she ended up in an icy pond while trying to rescue alpacas. He saved her life on Tuesday after she fell into a pond while attempting to rescue three of her alpacas who had wandered onto the ice at a farm where she is living in Bellevue, Richland County, South Carolina. The rescuer, Ray Kochheiser, crawled on his stomach onto the ice and pulled Abrahamsen to safety using a rope she had with her to attempt to rescue the drowning animals. Abrahamsen said he managed to crawl backwards on the ice and pulled her out.
She estimated she was 30 feet out onto the pond and the water was over her head. She said it was cold but she didn't feel it since she was in shock.
"He told me he saw me go down with the Gator and some ropes and he saw me go (fall) in," she said.
"How do you say thank you to somebody who risked his own life?" asked Abrahamsen, who now has 66 alpacas at Alpaca Galazy Suri Ranch.
The three alpacas, Lolita, Morningstar and Kharites, did not survive, but she said that their bodies had been recovered. And while it was sad to lose her animals, she said her brother was able to harvest the meat and hides.
Since her husband passed away, she's been in the process of trying to sell 90 percent of her herd. She currently raises the animals for their fibre and also shows them.
Abrahamsen said she was evicted from her farm in March 2015.
"So here I am homeless with 70 alpacas, three dogs and two horses," she said.
Among the kind strangers Abrahamsen met after her husband's death was a woman Sandra Whatman who she quickly connected with because her husband also died. The woman began helping at the farm and took in Abrahamsen and all her animals.
Abrahamsen said she also wished to thank three emergency rescue personnel from Bellville-Jefferson Fire Department who arrived in time to assist her at the house.
She said alpacas have never been known to wander onto icy ponds but for some reason they did.
She did not know how deep the water was when she went out to attempt to rescue her animals.
"I wasn't thinking and I thought one of them was standing in the water but it turned out she was treading water," she said.
Kochhesier later told Abrahamsen that when he climbed the fence at the property to get to her quickly, he got quite the shock, because it's electrified to keep the animals in. He also admitted to her afterwards that he doesn't swim.