A POLICEMAN was recovering last night after plunging through ice on a frozen lake while trying to rescue his Labrador dog.

The off-duty officer suffered severe hypothermia after being trapped in Radley Lakes for almost an hour before firefighters were able to rescue him at about 4.30pm on Monday.

The drama was seen by the policeman’s 10-year-old daughter who had been walking with him around the lake when their chocolate brown labrador went on to the ice and fell through.

The father managed to get almost 40 yards out to where the dog had fallen through when he too plunged through the thin ice.

Allison Garfield, who went to help, said: “The policeman was so lucky to have got out of there alive.

“He had lost all feeling by the time he was rescued.

“I think his daughter being there probably saved him because he was trying to be brave for her.”

Fire station manager Nick Bourke said: “By the time we got him out he was on his last legs. He went under a couple of times and we had to keep shouting to him to keep him going.

“We pushed an inflatable hose out to him and managed to persuade him to get it under his arms and then we dragged him back to the edge.

“The dog went into the water twice and then it tried to get in again while we were there. I don’t know if it was on some suicide mission or just very concerned for its master.

“His daughter ran to raise the alarm at the nearest house which was about 300 to 400 yards away so there was quite a bit of time before he was rescued.

“He was a big man, larger than your average person and I think that saved him. It could quite easily have been a bad news story because we reckon he could have been in the water for about 45 minutes.

“Where it all happened was off the beaten track and we had to be shown where it was. I think his size saved his life, really.

“It acted as insulation while he was in the water.”

The man was treated at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, for hypothermia and later released.

Across the country, at least two road deaths have been linked to the Arctic conditions.

Severe weather warnings were issued by the Met Office for almost all regions, with much of the country on alert for more heavy snow.

Police said a man was killed near Lincoln when his Land Rover went into a ditch on Monday morning. Another man was killed in a crash on a slip road on the M18 in Yorkshire.