OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — A Bay Area professor is being called a hero for risking his life to save a teenager on an icy lake in South Lake Tahoe.

Ian Whitmarsh lives in Oakland and was visiting family in South Lake Tahoe.

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On Wednesday, he went for a walk near Lake Baron.

Whitmarsh says they saw the 13-year-old walking his bike across the frozen water. Then Whitmarsh’s sister-in-law yelled out that the boy was in the water.

Hesitant at first, Whitmarsh made a bold decision and headed onto the fragile ice.

For a frantic two minutes, the only thing separating life and potential death for Whitmarsh was a thin sheet of broken ice.

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“It was extremely scary. The whole time I was scared,” Whitmarsh said.

Whitmarsh grew up in Michigan and knew to lay flat and slide on the ice to disperse his weight. That’s also how he pulled the 13-year-old back to shore, saving his life.

“His voice –when he said ‘Help me please!’ — it didn’t sound good. It sounded like he was really struggling,” Whitmarsh said.

The boy was taken to the hospital with severe hypothermia. He was later released and is doing okay.

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The sheriff’s department plans to give Whitmarsh a civilian metal for bravery in the coming days.