1. #51
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    Elburn hosts ice rescue drill

    Kane County Chronicle

    January 17, 2003
    ELBURN — With temperatures hovering near freezing for much of January, most detention ponds and creeks in the region have a healthy sheet on top.
    Or do they?
    "With a lot of those retention ponds, you've never know if the ice is nice." fire chief Kelly Callahan said.
    "Even though it looks good, at certain times it can actually be worse," Capt. Alan Isberg said.
    That has prompted rescue workers to host an ice rescue drill Saturday. The Elburn and Countryside Fire District has conducted similar drills twice since 1992.
    The drill will be at 10 a.m. at the pond at Third and Willow streets. Before the drill, rescue workers will attend a class at 8 a.m.
    Village administrator said barricades will be posted to keep curious residents away.
    Workers will test new lifesaving tools. Some will wear special suits to protect them from the cold and keep them dry.
    The district has four suits, but none have been used in an ice rescue. In the floods of 1996, rescue workers used the suits to keep them dry.
    Callahan said the suits will get a workout on Saturday. Some will dive into the icy water to retrieve a practice victim.
    "We'll have the instructor be a simulated victim," Callahan said. "Then we will get in the water, too."
    Officials said a few problems have cropped up in the region with people falling through the ice.
    Last year, a woman's dog fell through on a pond outside Elburn. Officials said the woman saved the dog before rescue workers arrived.
    "That is very much not recommended," Callahan said.
    Two years ago, a Geneva couple's dog died after falling through the ice at Fisher Farms, Geneva officials said.
    Twenty years ago, a 12-year-old boy and his dog were playing on ice near Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva.
    "The boy went out to get the dog off the ice, and the piece broke away. They were unable to get back," recalled Geneva Fire Chief Steve Olson. "We ended up going out there with a boat. He was one cold little kid."
    Olson urged residents to stay away from the Fox River and use park district ponds instead.
    "No matter how secure the ice appears, threat it as though it is not," Olson said. "There is nothing to describe what it feels like when you get hypothermia. It slows everything down. You can't do anything to rescue yourself."
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Rescue ends on light note


    Rescue work concludes on a light note

    Kristin Smith
    The Mercury

    January 15, 2003

    MONT CLARE, PA -- What began as a rescue effort in the turbulent waters of the Schuylkill River Saturday afternoon ended in relief as dive teams pulled an orange beach ball that was lodged under an abandoned boat out of the river.
    Mont Clare Deputy Fire Chief Charles Palmer said his team was dispatched to rescue what appeared to be a floating body.

    "We got called out for a possible water rescue. There was a boat in the water, and someone said they saw the boat bobbing up and down with something orange, like a life vest," said Palmer.

    "When we got down there, we put three boats in the water and went up to the dam to check it out. It turns out it was a boat with nobody around it and the orange thing that looked like a life vest was a beach ball."

    The search took approximately one to two hours, and the teams were not able to bring the boat to shore because of the heavy turbulence, according to Palmer. The Fish and Game Commission have determined the boat came down loose from the Black Rock boat launch.

    The rescue effort follows the Thanksgiving Day drowning that turned into a grueling week long recovery effort for local dive teams. Mario Scamuffa, 36, of Coatesville, lost his footing on ice while walking on a cement retaining wall and fell into the frigid waters.

    Earlier in the year, rescuers also searched the same area in a five-day recovery effort of the body of Roseanne Corey of Quakertown.

    Also responding to Saturday’s effort were Phoenixville and Spring-Ford Dive Rescue Teams.

    Corey, 37, was boating with her boyfriend in May when her dog jumped over the side of the boat and Corey drowned in an attempt to rescue the animal.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  3. #53
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    Default Resuers conduct multi-agency winter drill using various boats


    Rescue workers hold winter training exercises on Cass Lake

    By: Sarah Balstad, Staff Writer
    January 12, 2003

    CASS LAKE, MN - With a temperature of zero and winds blowing across frozen Cass Lake, holes cut in the ice allowed rescue workers to jump into the freezing water.
    Emergency workers, including police, sheriff and fire departments from all over Minnesota, gathered on Cass Lake Saturday for rescue training organized by the Cass County Sheriff's Department and Cass Lake Fire Department.
    The day was intended to give workers training and practice with ice rescue, skills especially necessary this year with such unstable ice conditions.
    "This is reality. It's 5 below and there's 20 inches of ice. We've had some trouble getting some of the machines going because of the weather, but that's reality. Accidents don't only happen on nice days," said Sgt. Tim Berglund of the Cass County Sheriff Department.
    Berglund is also coordinator of the boat and water program in Cass County.
    "We're here to share knowledge and work with the equipment in the event that we need it so we'll be prepared," Berglund said, "and help is only a phone call away."
    "It's a multiple agency exercise practice to get to know each other and about the equipment," said Dan Bibeau of the Itasca County Dive Team.
    By bringing different departments together from around the area, more resources are available in the event of an emergency. And resources aren't limited to manpower, they include machine power as well, like that of Bemidji Fire Department's hovercraft, Cohasset Fire Department's ice angel (airboat) and the JTW Associates nebulous device.
    The Bemidji Fire Department's hovercraft was donated by the Neilson Foundation and has already been used to save four lives. The vehicle can travel on a pocket of air over ice, land and water and is larger than other models for the purpose of rescue, according to Bemidji firefighter Mike Yavarow.
    The Cohasset Fire Department's ice angel (airboat) is similar to boats often seen in areas like the Everglades with a few exceptions. The ice angel (airboat) is equipped with a boom winch for lifting objects out of the water. The vehicle can travel on water, snow and ice, and has a special coating on its pontoons to avoid ice buildup.
    "It's really used quite frequently," said Denny Lemler of the Cohasset Fire Department.
    The JTW Associates nebulous device is an inflatable attachment for snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles. A prototype of the search and rescue model was exhibited at the event and is intended to float the driver, the machine, and a victim.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  4. #54
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    Default Sheriff weighs safety, search

    Sheriff weighs safety, search

    January 18, 2003

    Record-Eagle staff writer

    TRAVERSE CITY, MI - Since two snowmobilers plunged into Long Lake nine days ago, Sheriff Scott Fewins has had a lot to think about.
    He comforted the families of the two men, who desperately wanted the bodies of their loved ones recovered.
    He fretted over the safety of the divers who performed the exhausting work of methodically searching the lake bed. He made sure their zeal to complete the assignment did not put them at risk.
    And he considered the mounting cost of the operation, which quickly consumed the department's annual budget for recovery operations, despite generous donations of resources from other police departments and even offers from department members to work free.
    As a cold front moved into northern Michigan throughout the week and the gaping hole of open water on the north end of Long Lake closed, however, nature made the call for him - the search had to be suspended, at least until the ice becomes solid.
    "Mother Nature has froze us out of the lake," Fewins said Friday in a frustrated voice.
    The search has been suspended since Wednesday, when the open water on the north end of Long Lake disappeared. In the last dives, an airboat was used to chop holes in the ice and the divers jumped into the lake, shoving aside great chunks of ice.
    The search is scheduled to resume Tuesday, as long as the lake is safely frozen solid. Fewins arranged to use a Michigan State Police orbital sonar, which will scan the lake's bottom in 40-foot sections, entering the lake through holes in the ice 10 inches wide.
    The divers have recovered one body, that of 36-year-old Matthew Wyn of Traverse City. They located the snowmobiles about 50 yards away from each other in about 60 feet of water, in the area where on Jan. 10 rescuers discovered two snowmobile tracks leading into the lake.
    Thirty-two-year-old David Swanson still is missing.
    Under Michigan's Constitution, a sheriff is required to recover bodies from water in their jurisdiction, but the law does not specify how long a sheriff must search or under what circumstances a search should be called off.
    A sheriff is just required "to use every available means in the recovery of any such body," according to the law.
    So a search becomes a balancing act of different concerns - for the families involved, for the expense of the operation and for the safety of the divers.
    "We don't want to have them have to wait all winter long to possibly have a recovery, so they can go through the funeral and the memorial services three months from now," Fewins said. "That's part of it, but I also have to be concerned about safety; safety's No. 1."
    Fewins said he also has considered the cost of the operation, but he has put it to the back of his mind.
    "Lately I've had people ask, 'You know, what is this costing?' And it's true, there is a cost figure associated with it," he said.
    A further complication is that there have been two other body recovery searches in the state over the past week, one in the Upper Peninsula and the other at Houghton Lake. That has complicated efforts to get equipment that is shared across the state.
    The family of Matthew Wyn, who was recovered a week ago, praised Fewins for his performance under such tough circumstances.
    Wyn's brother, Tod Wyn, said Fewins was good at communicating with the family and friends of Wyn and Swanson from the beginning.
    "Scott Fewins was very compassionate, very caring and was very, very interested in getting their bodies," he said.
    Wyn's mother, Sharon Wyn, also praised Fewins and the divers.
    "They were just magnificent heroes, and we cannot believe all they did and all they endured and the conditions that they had to do it in," she said.
    Fewins remains hopeful that the sonar will locate Swanson and he will be able to end the operation in success. He and the dive team have carefully studied the area of the lake and have an area the size of between one and two football fields to search.
    "The only thing that will stop us is if the conditions change and the lake wants to open up again," he said. "What we're going to try to accomplish I think is doable."
    But the decision to call off the sonar search will ultimately be up to the state police, he said. Should it come to that, he said he does not know if there will be a "plan C."
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  5. #55
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    Default Frozen ponds a deadly lure


    January 18, 2003
    Frozen ponds a deadly lure

    By LUIS PUGA Staff Writer

    It can be tempting to venture out onto the ice.

    As temperatures drop and winds bring shivering cold, it may be hard to believe that the ice isn't thick enough.

    Take today, where the National Weather Service at Mount Holly is predicting a continuation of the cold snap with highs in the mid-20s. At night, those highs will drop into the teens. That much cold equals frozen water, right?

    But experts say no matter how cold it gets, it's best to stay off the ice unless its been measured for thickness by authorities.

    "We go by the old adage that no ice is safe ice," said Chief Cliff Higbee, Cumberland County's Marine Coordinator and head of the Fortescue Dive Team.

    Higbee's perspective is unique as the Fortescue Fire Department is one of the few that has divers trained to rescue people who fall through the ice. His team knows the dangers of thin ice and trains other fire departments in Cumberland, Gloucester, Atlantic and Cape May counties on how to perform an ice rescue even without diving equipment. His advice to would-be skaters, hockey players or just the curious: stay off the ice.

    "They definitely should not (venture onto a frozen body of water) unless it is a designated area," Higbee said. Local authorities check such areas like Millville's Corsin Park or Burnt Mill Pond in Vineland daily. A colored flag tells would-be skaters whether the ice is safe. Green means go and red means stay off.

    Still, Higbee said ice is just a magnet for people who think what looks solid on the surface will support their weight.

    "It's more curiosity seekers than anything," he said. "The biggest problem is kids walking out on the ice. They're walking home and they see the local pond is frozen over and they go out."

    Or, it's the pets.

    "We had more problems with animals than humans," said Higbee, who said in that case, a rescue is up to the local department. "These days, people pretty much value their pets as if they were kids."

    And, with any call for a rescue, rescue personnel are trained to expect more than one person has fallen in.

    "It's just human nature," said Higbee. "It's more than likely that someone will try to help (the person who has fallen in). But, all the good intentions can't help you out of the ice. The classic example was in Gloucester County. They rescued two girls who then remembered the guy who tried to help them. He was under the ice."

    So if you do fall in, what should you do?

    Higbee said you should stay calm and try to lean forward back onto the ice if possible. He said if you get back up on the ice, roll onto it and crawl back to solid ground. Never stand up or walk. If you can't get back up on the ice, yell for help.

    As for good Samaritans, Higbee said, "We don't ever recommend venturing out onto the ice to help someone."

    Instead, tree branches may be a good way to reach out to someone. Higbee said that sort of extended arm is what firefighters without diving or other specialized equipment are trained to do with ladders or rope. Rarely are they advised to go out on the ice unless they have an exposure or "Gumby" suit, which allows them to endure a cold plunge.

    While there have been some cases where people have survived in frigid water for hours, Higbee said that even with trained rescuers, you still shouldn't go out on the ice.

    After all, by the time a passer-by sees you, finds a phone and calls for help, it could be 10 or 20 minutes after you've fallen in.

    And the most dangerous situation is when a person falls in under the ice, where survival decreases sharply.

    "In the past 10 years, we've pulled out 20 bodies from under the ice and we've never been able to revive any of them," he said.

    In Vineland, John Polaha, superintendent of recreation, said city crews check on Burnt Mill Pond and Ellis Pond at Giampetro Park three times a day after they freeze over. Neither is frozen now, despite the chilly weather, and Polaha said it's been 10 years since Ellis Pond froze over.

    "There's always the Vineland Skating Rink" he said, noting the indoor recreation facility. And while you may fall there, at least it will be on solid footing.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  6. #56
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    Default Father, Son Rescued From Potomac


    Father, Son Rescued From Potomac
    Boat Gets Stuck In Ice

    January 18, 2003

    DARNESTOWN, Md. -- A father and son found out first hand just how cold the Potomac was Saturday morning after their boat became icebound near Riley's Locke on the C&O Canal.
    Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesman Oscar Garcia said the two had gone out for a little duck hunting when their boat became trapped by patches of floating ice just after noon.
    The River Rescue Strike Team was called in and was able to break through the ice to get to the stranded vessel. It was towed back to shore.
    Garcia says no one was hurt, just a little cold.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  7. #57
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    Default Two Men Rescued From C&O Canal / Rescuers Train For Ice Emergencies


    Rescuers Train For Ice Emergencies

    Two Men Rescued From C&O Canal This Weekend

    POSTED: 6:11 p.m. EST January 20, 2003

    POTOMAC, Md. -- A rescue this weekend on the C&O Canal highlighted the importance of ice safety on the area's frozen waterways.

    A father and son were trapped on the canal when ice surrounded their boat and refroze. The men tried to use their cell phone but it didn't work.
    Finally, a park police helicopter spotted them and called for help. Rescue crews had to smash through the ice with another boat to reach the men.
    Rescuers Conduct Practice Drill

    On a frozen pond in Potomac Monday, fire rescue divers braved the elements with a rescue drill. One man dressed in a wet suit plunged into the icy water.
    Rescuers slid along the ice to reach the man.

    Experts said it is important for anyone trapped in icy water to conserve energy. Victims should hold their position and call for help.
    Rescuers also said anyone on dry land should not try to rescue the trapped person. Instead, witnesses should call for help immediately.

    Crews said people who try to save the trapped person often cause more problems by shattering the ice the stranded person is using to float.
    However, a long branch or a flotation device can be used to help the stranded person stay above water.
    Paramedics said everyone should also remember that looks can be deceiving. If ice is a foot thick in one area of a lake or pond, it can be one inch thick just a few yards away.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  8. #58
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    Default Mystery man rescues ice fisherman


    Mystery man rescues ice fisherman on Lake St. Clair

    By Mitch Hotts, Macomb Daily Staff Writer
    January 20, 2003

    The frozen sections of Lake St. Clair were busy Sunday with recreational vehicles and fishermen. Authorities said ice covering most of the lake is strong enough to walk on.

    Lake St. Clair --Local anglers credit a "mystery" man with putting his life on the line to help save an ice fisherman who fell through the ice and into the frigid waters of Lake St. Clair on Sunday afternoon.

    Michael Goode, 49, of Warren, was rescued from the lake in Harrison Township by a team of about 30 fishermen after he attempted to retrieve a shanty.

    He was held overnight at Mount Clemens General Hospital for treatment of hypothermia, but was thankful to be alive, relatives said.

    "He told me that if it wasn't for the fellow who helped him, he would be dead," said Sandy Goode, the victim's wife.

    Authorities don't know the name of the rescuer, who left after emerging soaking wet from the lake, although some witnesses said he was a Marine City resident.

    The incident happened about 2 p.m. at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources site at the end of Rosso Highway at Jefferson. Temperatures were in the upper teens, but near or below zero with the wind speeds factored in, officials said.

    Goode was fishing about three-quarters of a mile from shore when the wind blew his shanty near an area of open water and into the lake.

    Goode used a snowmobile to catch up with the shanty, but the ice broke as he approached and he fell into the freezing water, which was about 6 feet deep.

    "You could barely see his head out there," said Richard Spears of Warren, another ice fisherman.

    Other anglers saw the commotion and organized a small rescue party, carefully walking as close as they could on the ice to Goode, with a rope to haul him in.

    Donald Wonsowicz, a grants officer with Wayne State University, said he heard Goode screaming "at the top of his lungs" to call for help.

    At one point, the mystery man jumped into the water and looped a rope around Goode, which the crowd used to pull Goode in to stronger ice and then to an awaiting ambulance.

    "This guy was truly amazing," Wonsowicz said. "I wish I knew his name. I didn't think the guy (Goode) in the water was going to make it, but this young guy went right out there and got him."

    Harrison Township fire crews arrived at the scene just as Goode was removed from the water and helped warm the victim before taking him to the hospital.

    Dr. Glenn Delong at Mount Clemens General Hospital said Goode was in stable condition Sunday evening and was being held overnight for observation.

    Capt. Carl Seitz of the Harrison Township Fire Department said the ice thickness varies on Lake St. Clair. He urged flotation devices be worn by anglers near open water.

    Goode, who has two children and two grandchildren, is a humble man who was happy to have come out of the water with his cell phone and glasses on, relatives said.

    He works at the Continental Trailer Park in Warren, where rap star Eminem filmed portions of the "8 Mile" movie last year.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  9. #59
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    Default Snowmobiler missing in lake - Cries heard


    Snowmobiler missing in lake
    Friend rescued from icy waters of Big Cedar by 3 who heard cries

    Jan. 21, 2003
    Town of West Bend, WI - One man was missing in Big Cedar Lake late Tuesday after he and another man rode a snowmobile into a patch of open water, Washington County Sheriff Jack Theusch said.
    A teenager on his way to church helped rescue one of the men from the icy waters.
    Both snowmobilers, who were riding on a single sled, were believed to be in their 20s, Theusch said. Searchers from the Washington County Sheriff's Department and West Bend Fire Department were still looking for the missing snowmobiler as of 10 p.m., said Theusch, who added that he had asked the Waukesha County Dive Rescue Team to assist.
    Torey Bringa, 17, heard cries for help about 7:30 p.m. as he walked out of his home on W. Lake Drive. "I was going to my car to go to church, and I thought I heard something," Bringa said. "It sounded like 'help' or 'call,' but it sounded pretty faint."
    Bringa said he went across W. Lake Drive, got in the car and closed the door. Then he thought again.
    "I opened the car door and heard it again," Bringa said. "I walked down toward the front of my house, and then I could really hear it. I could hear someone yelling for help."
    Bringa said he ran into his home, grabbed some rope and a flashlight and headed onto the ice, following the cries. As he approached the open water, he met two other people who had heard the same pleas for help - and encountered a man struggling to stay afloat.
    "We threw in the rope, and the three of us pulled him onto the ice," Bringa said. "(The man) told us he had been hanging on to his friend's shoulders before we got there. He said he was pulling him down."
    Bringa, who was home alone at the time, said he didn't think twice about venturing onto the ice.
    "Even if I thought it was a joke, there was no harm in just checking," he said. "I'm glad I took that second chance to listen again."
    Theusch said initial interviews with witnesses indicated people were helping soon after the sled went in the lake. The man who was pulled from the water was very cold and was treated by the West Bend Fire Department at the scene, Theusch said.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Two teens plunge through the ice


    Two teens plunge through the ice

    By BRIAN HAYNES, Staff Writer

    January 21, 2003
    Annapaolis, MD - When Leif Anderson's 13-year-old daughter saw a teen walking on the ice behind her Pasadena home yesterday afternoon, she saw fun.But Mr. Anderson saw danger.

    Moments later he was rushing to a nearby pier with an extension cord in hand to save the teen, who had fallen through the ice into the chilly waters of Cockey Creek.

    "I just knew he was in big trouble," Mr. Anderson said.

    Two throws and about 10 minutes later, 14-year-old Brian Hart was safely inside the Anderson home, wearing a blanket and a dry set of clothes and getting an earful from Mr. Anderson's wife, he said.

    "I would think he learned his lesson," Mr. Anderson said.

    Brian told the Andersons that he understood the danger before county firefighters drove him to North Arundel Hospital for precautionary treatment.

    But his fall and another one about an hour earlier have public safety officials warning people of all ages that there's no reason to learn Brian's lesson the hard way.

    "Right now I wouldn't trust anything, anywhere," Annapolis Fire Department Battalion Chief Michael Lonergan said of the ice covering many of the county's creeks and rivers.

    Even later in the season, it's best to avoid walking on the ice altogether because local water conditions make for very inconsistent ice thicknesses, he said. So while it might appear thick enough in one spot, the ice could be dangerously thin just a few feet away.

    "It's too risky," he said.

    Another county teen found out for himself how dangerous the ice can be.

    Joshua Sullivan, 14, fell through the ice about 1:30 p.m. outside his home overlooking Marley Creek, said Division Chief John Scholz, a county Fire Department spokesman.

    Firefighters rushed to the scene, but by the time they arrived Joshua had pulled himself from the chest-deep water and started a hot bath in his family's apartment nearby.

    Like Brian, he too was taken to North Arundel Hospital for treatment.

    A similar incident occurred in Ocean City Sunday, but one of the two children playing on thin ice at a park there didn't survive.

    Eight-year-old Sam Wilkinson died Sunday night after he fell through the ice on a partially frozen lake and was submerged about an hour.

    Nicholas McLoota, 10, also fell into the frigid water. He was rescued about 3 minutes later, then treated and released from the University of Maryland Hospital for Children in Baltimore at 3 p.m., spokesman Alexandra Bessent said.

    The boys were chasing a ball across the ice on a man-made lake at Northside Park at about 5:30 p.m. when they fell through, said Ocean City police Sgt. Regina Custer.

    Each winter fire departments respond to many similar calls, and with early-season temperatures as low as they've been in years, officials expect to see more incidents like yesterday's.

    If that happens rescuers should take many of the same precautions that Mr. Anderson did.

    After calling for professional help, the most important rule is to avoid going onto the ice because if it couldn't hold the first person, it almost certainly can't hold a second, Chief Scholz said.

    "Do not walk onto the ice to get somebody because you'll become a victim yourself," he said.

    Rescuers should try throwing a line, a rope, a floating ring (even an extension cord) to the victim and pull him to safety.

    If, as a last resort, going onto the ice is necessary, use a ladder, an inflatable raft or some other device to spread your weight over the ice.

    Mr. Anderson had never rescued anyone before, but he knew enough to make his first attempt a success. And while he used to skate on frozen ponds and creeks in his childhood, Mr. Anderson always saw the danger in it.

    "I'd rather go to the ice rink," he said.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Men identified in snowmobile accident on Big Cedar Lake

    Men identified in snowmobile accident on Big Cedar Lake


    Jan. 22, 2003

    Town of West Bend - An investigation continued Wednesday into what caused two men to plunge into the frigid waters of Big Cedar Lake while snowmobiling in the early evening Tuesday, killing one of the men.
    Michael J. Mann, 21, of the Town of Trenton, was pulled from the open water about 50 yards northwest of the largest island in Big Cedar Lake just before midnight Tuesday.
    He was taken by Flight for Life to Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital and declared dead at the hospital.
    Craig Davidson, 30, also of Trenton, was rescued about 7:35 p.m. when a teenager on his way to church heard cries for help and dashed to the lake with rope and a flashlight. He met up with two others and using the line, the three pulled Davidson to safety.
    Both Davidson and Mann were riding on a single sled, Washington County Sheriff Jack Theusch said. Reports do not indicate who was driving the snowmobile at the time.
    Theusch said Wednesday that it had not been determined if alcohol was a factor in the accident.
    Members of the Washington County Sheriff's Department and the West Bend Fire Department arrived at the scene, leaving a trail of flares to mark a path on good ice so crews could travel safely. Members of the Waukesha County Dive Rescue Team were called to recover the body.
    About 20 people gathered at the Big Cedar Lake Rehabilitation and Protection District building to await the outcome of the search.
    Torey Bringa, 17, heard cries for help about 7:30 p.m. as he walked out of his home on W. Lake Drive. "I was going to my car to go to church, and I thought I heard something," Bringa said. "It sounded like 'help' or 'call,' but it sounded pretty faint."
    Bringa said he got in the car and closed the door. Then he thought again.
    "I opened the car door and heard it again," Bringa said. "I walked down toward the front of my house, and then I could really hear it. I could hear someone yelling for help."
    Bringa said he ran into his home, grabbed some rope and a flashlight and headed onto the ice, following the cries. As he approached the open water, he met two other people who had heard the same pleas for help - and encountered a man struggling to stay afloat.
    "We threw in the rope, and the three of us pulled him onto the ice," Bringa said. "(The man) told us he had been hanging on to his friend's shoulders before we got there. He said he was pulling him down."
    Bringa, who was home alone at the time, said he didn't think twice about venturing onto the ice.
    "Even if I thought it was a joke, there was no harm in just checking," he said. "I'm glad I took that second chance to listen again."
    Theusch said initial interviews with witnesses indicated people were helping soon after the sled went in the lake. The man who was pulled from the water was very cold and was treated by the West Bend Fire Department at the scene, Theusch said.
    Theusch called Bringa and the two other rescuers heroic.
    "They didn't necessarily know where the bad ice is, and yet they went out there," he said.
    The area on the lake where the snowmobilers went in has been a popular spot for ice fishing most years but has been free of ice for most of this winter.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default 45 Minutes - (WOW - good thing it was not an emergency)


    Wednesday 22 January, 2003

    Loudoun Times-Mirror

    Middleburg, Va - Sterling Rescue Squad paramedic Chris Simon and Sterling Fire Department firefighter Steve Gingras worked for more than 45 minutes Saturday afternoon to break through the ice at the Algonkian Regional Park boat ramp. They were trying to help Maryland authorities rescue two fishermen trapped in a boat on the ice. Shortly after the Sterling rescue workers broke though the ice, Maryland rescuers reached the fishermen from the other side of the river.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Crazy night on Houghton Lake


    Crazy night on Houghton Lake

    Houghton Lake Resorter
    By Thomas Reznich

    January 23, 2003
    Houghton, Lake, MI - “I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would be out there tonight.” That is the first thing Roscommon County Sheriff Fran Staley said when I found him on Long Point Saturday night.
    Scanner traffic had alerted the Resorter that rescue personnel were searching the large stretch of open water that runs along the southern edge of Long Point to the West Shore of Houghton Lake after receiving reports of someone yelling for help and another of witnesses who thought they saw snowmobile lights disappear into the hole.
    A trip around the lake revealed what struck me as an almost surrealistic scene with groups of snowmobiles going by, some at high rates of speed, rescue equipment, including two Argos and a hovercraft stuck out on the ice, a Coast Guard helicopter and the Sheriff Department airboat conducting searches, all under a full moon.
    Then as I looked out across to the emergency lights on Long Point, fireworks, big ones, began to go off from somewhere just behind the road end the rescue workers were parked at.

    Thankfully, the reports of snowmobilers in the open water turned out to be unfounded, as did an impromptu fire alarm on the West Shore, and all of the rescue workers made it off the ice in good condition. Unfortunately, the film I shot during these goings on did not survive the full moon.

    By all current predictions, the open water that spurred concern last Saturday will still be there for the second weekend of Tip-up Town 2003. Local officials and rescue personnel are praying that caution will keep tragedy at bay once again.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Snowmobiler dies in Washington County lake


    Snowmobiler dies in Washington County lake

    The Associated Press
    Published Jan. 23, 2003

    TRENTON, Wis. -- A man died in a Washington County lake after he and another man rode a snowmobile into a patch of open water.
    The sheriff's department received a call around 7:35 p.m. Tuesday that a snowmobile with two people on it had gone through the ice on Big Cedar Lake, Lt. Michael Hetzel said.
    Members of the Waukesha County Dive Rescue Team recovered the body of 21-year-old Michael J. Mann of rural West Bend about four hours later in 30 feet of water, authorities said.
    A teenager on his way to church helped rescue the other man, Craig Davidson, 30, of West Bend, Sheriff Jack Theusch.
    Torey Bringa, 17, said he heard cries for help as he walked out of his house to his car.
    ``It sounded like 'help' or 'call,' but it sounded pretty faint,'' Bringa said. He got in the car but thought again and walked toward the sound.
    Bringa said he ran into his home, grabbed some rope and a flashlight and headed onto the ice, following the cries. As he approached the open water, he met two other people who had heard the same pleas for help. They threw the rope to the man and pulled him up.
    ``(The man) told us he had been hanging on to his friend's shoulders before we got there. He said he was pulling him down,'' Bringa said.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Woman drowns in Larimer pond


    Woman drowns in Larimer pond

    January 24, 2003
    FORT COLLINS, CO - A woman who ventured onto an icy pond after her dog Wednesday drowned in what investigators called "an extremely tragic accident," the Larimer County Sheriff's Office said in a news release.
    Tracy D. Bragg was reported missing at 8:30 p.m. after her dog returned home from a walk without her, the release said. Her husband and a friend searched the area and called the Sheriff's Office when they found footprints leading to the pond at Eagle Ranch Estates in eastern Larimer County.
    The Sheriff's Office sent a dive rescue team to the site, and searchers later recovered her body. Authorities believe she slipped from the ice into open water.
    Bragg had been a co-owner of Needlepoint of View Gallery in Niwot, which closed in March after the owners retired to spend more time with families.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Fines for ice rescues

    Jan. 22, 2003

    Some want to issue fines for ice rescues

    Greenbay Press Gazette
    By Paul Srubas

    The prospect of having to pay a hefty fee for their own rescue is unlikely to deter fishermen from going out on dangerous ice, a Green Bay fishing enthusiast says.“I don’t think anybody goes out there saying, ‘I might fall through,’” said Daryl Warren, an ice fisherman and manager of a bait shop. “They don’t go out there thinking, ‘If I fall through, somebody will come get me, but it won’t cost anything.’ They go out thinking the ice is safe or that it’s going to happen to somebody else. They go out thinking, ‘I won’t have a problem.’”
    Rescue crews in Brown County and most other areas of Wisconsin don’t charge for their services. But that could change in Winnebago County, where Sheriff Michael Brooks has asked the Winnebago County Board to establish a rate schedule for charging people who ignore warnings and break through thin ice on local lakes.“
    I don’t believe I as a taxpayer should have to pay for damage and recovery costs when people are out there and they shouldn’t be out there,” Brooks told a Winnebago County Board committee this month.
    He made the request after police and fire departments spent nine hours and damaged two county-owned hovercrafts trying to rescue people stranded on the ice of Lake Winnebago in late December.
    Rescue crews in the Brown County area perform their share of ice rescues on the bay and area lakes and streams, but there is no organized effort to impose a fee on people being rescued.“We don’t impose any charges at all,” said Tom Madigan, director of County Rescue, a nonprofit company that provides ambulance and rescue services under contract with 19 municipalities in Brown County.
    Madigan runs the area’s STAR team — the Specialized Trauma and Rescue team of divers, climbers, pilots and others who perform a variety of emergency rescue operations. And County Rescue’s two helicopters, though intended for emergency medical transport, are frequently called up for search-and-rescue operations.
    Aside from the pilot’s salary and insurance costs, helicopter rescue operations cost an estimated $450 an hour in fuel and depreciation, Madigan said. That means that County Rescue, which helped Winnebago County get the men off Lake Winnebago in that late December operation, cost the company about $1,800, Madigan said.But Madigan and most police and fire departments regard rescue operations as part of the job.
    “The reason we don’t want to impose a charge is, we want people to call,” Madigan said. “Once you impose charges, the next person could hesitate because they’re worried about a bill.”
    But like Winnebago County’s sheriff, many public officials find it frustrating when fishermen and snowmobilers ignore warnings and get into trouble on thin ice, forcing rescuers to endanger themselves.
    “I remember being out on one where we had to slide a ladder after one of our men, so that if he fell in during the rescue, he’d be able to get out,” said Harold Kaye, a former Green Bay firefighter and current chairman of the Brown County Board’s Public Safety Committee. Kaye said no one’s talking locally about imposing a rescue fee, but he’d like to see something done. “I think someone — the (state Department of Natural Resources), the sheriff — should determine whether it’s safe or unsafe, and if it’s unsafe and they go out anyway, there’d be some sort of fine,” he said.However, Kaye said, thanks to liability concerns, no government official likely would ever be willing to declare that ice was safe. In fact, the DNR won’t.
    “Our pat answer is, no ice is safe ice,” said DNR game warden Mike Stahl, Oconto Falls. “There’s no way we know every ice condition on every body of water, and conditions can change daily. … We can’t guarantee it. Nobody can.”The general rule of thumb, Stahl said, is that it should be at least a foot thick before you drive a vehicle on it. “It should be at least 6 inches for an ATV or snowmobile, and 4 inches for it to be walkable,” he said.“Check with local sporting good shops and fisherman” to find out local conditions before venturing out on the ice, he said
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default 2 teens die at Lake Minnetonka, MN

    Jan. 23, 2003

    2 teens who died at Lake Minnetonka identified

    Pioneer Press

    After crashing into open water on Lake Minnetonka in a car, a 17-year-old girl pulled herself out Tuesday night and then walked and crawled a short distance in near-zero temperatures before dying on top of the ice.
    And the body of a 16-year-old boy who was in a car with the girl was found in the water Wednesday after a day of searching for him with cameras and divers at Robinsons Bay in Deephaven.
    The Hennepin County Medical Examiner identified the victims as Jacqueline Hannah Fricke, 17, and Evan Wilson, 16. Both were from Minnetonka. Earlier Wednesday, Hennepin County sheriff's deputies traced the girl's steps from an open area of the water, where tire tracks from the car ended. Authorities believe she died about midnight or before, when it was about 1 degree above zero.
    "It was clear she was in the water; then she walked, collapsed and crawled for 200 yards," said sheriff's Capt. Bill Chandler. "It's very painful to look at the scene."
    The deaths brought the state's ice-related fatalities to 10 so far this winter — double the number for the entire season last year. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and local sheriff's offices repeatedly have warned people in the southern two-thirds of the state to stay off the ice. After last year's abundant precipitation, heavy discharge of warm groundwater into lakes has caused severely dangerous conditions with thin ice and holes as big as several acres.
    The girl's parents called the Hennepin County sheriff's office about 6 a.m. Wednesday to say their daughter hadn't come home Tuesday night and had been driving on the lake with a friend. Sheriff's deputies found her body about 7:30 a.m.
    Both victims are from Minnetonka and were juniors at Minnetonka High School, sheriff's and school officials said.
    The high school released a short statement expressing sympathy to the families and announcing that grief counselors had spent the day at the school and would remain available into the week if students needed them. Officials at the school would not comment further.
    Hennepin County Sheriff's Water Patrol divers searched all Wednesday afternoon for the boy before finding his body at 5:05 p.m., just as deputies were calling off the search for the night. The car, which belonged to the boy, had not been located and it was unclear who was driving when the accident happened.
    Searchers used underwater cameras to try to find the car before diving into the dangerous conditions. Thin ice, frigid temperatures and a water depth of about 32 feet posed obstacles to the divers.
    The water was about 40 degrees and clear, said sheriff's spokeswoman Roseann Campagnoli. But when the divers emerged to temperatures ranging from zero to 4-above, they ran the risk of hypothermia. So the Water Patrol used an airboat to whisk them to a heated boathouse on the shore.
    The Ice Angel, as the boat is called, saw its first major use since it was bought about a year ago.
    The boat can quickly glide across thin ice, keeping rscuers safe on surfaces that crack and break as soon as they step on them.
    Although Lake Minnetonka was open to vehicles Tuesday and Wednesday, the area of Robinsons Bay at the border of Deephaven and Woodland had been marked with orange flags to warn against the open water, which was believed to be about 2 to 4 acres in size. Flags dotted the perimeter about every 50 feet.
    The water had just opened during the weekend and changes in size daily.
    It is not uncommon for vehicles to drive on Lake Minnetonka. But police and water safety experts said they were not aware of it being a popular activity for teenagers.
    Because of the extreme ice conditions this winter, the DNR has been advising people in the southern two-thirds of the state to stay off lakes, said water safety specialist Tim Smalley.
    But many people aren't heeding the warnings.
    "We know lots of people do it," Campagnoli said of people driving on the ice. "Just since we've been standing out here today, one truck drove carelessly close to the open water."
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Fundraiser to help ice rescue operations


    Fundraising Fisheree to Help With Ice Rescues

    January 25, 2003
    WBAY-Action 2

    Boom Bay, WI - Some Fox Valley volunteer firefighters hope to better their rescue efforts on the ice. The Boom Bay Volunteer Fire Department plans to buy an airboat to service the north end of Lake Poygan.
    Firefighters held a fisheree on Saturday at the Duck Inn Supper Club to raise money for the airboat.
    The fire department is also in the process of buying two ice suits and other gear.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Plane crashes in Delaware River


    Plane crash kills two

    Monday, January 27, 2003

    Staff Writer

    PEA PATCH ISLAND, Del. -- Two people died after a single engine plane crashed and burned Sunday night on an uninhabited island in the icy Delaware River.
    The plane crashed in snowy weather on Pea Patch Island about 5:40 p.m., said Dave Carpenter Jr., public information officer for the Delaware City Fire Co.
    The Beech Bonanza V-35 craft, en route from Wings field in Ambler, Pa., to Columbia, S.C., burst into flames after it crashed on the 228-acre island
    With the river iced over, emergency crews from the Delaware City Fire Co. used a Delaware State Police helicopter to reach the island. The first crews arrived at 6:20 p.m. and used hand-held extinguishers to battle the flames, Carpenter said.
    Smoke and a fiery glow were visible from Delaware City docks, where emergency crews and reporters gathered. Dozens of residents left their homes nearby to watch the rescue effort.
    The state police helicopter was able to make two runs to the island before snow and high winds made it impossible to be safely operated, Carpenter said.
    Fire boats from the Wilmington, Holiday Terrace and Port Penn fire companies in Delaware were eventually able to make it to the island, a quarter-mile from the Delaware shoreline and about a mile across the river from Finns Point State Park in Pennsville Township.
    It took upwards of two hours to extinguish the fire.
    Firefighters pulled two bodies from the plane.
    The Delaware River surrounding the island is iced over thanks to two weeks of sustained bitter temperatures, according to the U.S. Coast Guard in Philadelphia.
    Winstead said police didn't yet know if weather was a factor in the crash.
    A boat from the Lower Alloways Creek Fire Co. was among those dispatched to the site, according to Salem County emergency communications. Clergy also were transported to the crash site by the Delaware City Fire Co.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Rescue crews re-enact rescue for TV cameras


    Monday, January 27, 2003

    Local crews re-enact rescue for TV cameras

    Reformer Staff

    NEWFANE, VT -- As emergency workers pulled the pale boy out of the icy waters, a mother's fearful screams were quickly halted by a director yelling, "cut."The once frantic mother quickly became calm after the cameras stopped running. The pale-faced boy, who appeared to be close to death, was only a life-like dummy.Emergency crews from Brattleboro and NewBrook became the stars of a drowning re-enactment Sunday, filmed by a production crew working on a series that will be aired on the Discovery Channel later this year.The story, filmed in a small pond behind WW Building Supply in Newfane, is based on the 1987 drowning death of a young boy in Warwick, R.I.."It was a drowning involving three children," said Capt. Steve Rowell of the Brattleboro Police Department, who was wearing a dry suit in case he needed to jump into the freezing water. "After they fell through some ice, two were brought back and resuscitated, but one boy died."

    The footage will be part of an hour-long show called "Critical Rescue" and will air in six to nine months, according to a member of New Dominion Pictures, the production team behind the show.Crews were at the small pond in Newfane from early Sunday morning and worked into the late afternoon filming and re-filming dramatic scenes of rescue.Fire trucks and ambulances from Grace Cottage Hospital were at the scene sporting the logos for the Warwick fire and ambulance services, as well as Rhode Island license plates. A small crowd gathered near the pond all day, a mix of extras and curious onlookers.The dramatic rescue of one of the young boys from the water was shot a half-dozen times Sunday afternoon as a small crew of divers made their way in and out of the freezing waters.Each time director Greg Francis yelled "action," a young mother in the crowd screamed her son's name over and over again as friends and firefighters held her back from the scene.A dummy of a young boy was used in the water scenes, said a woman on the production team who asked not to be identified. Careful editing and quick cuts will make it look like the dummy is actually the body of a young boy, she said.Most members of the production crew were hesitant to discuss the historic case the re-enactment is based on. One crew member said this drowning was chosen because the grandmother of the dead boy successfully petitioned the state of Rhode Island to pay for ice rescue training and equipment for fire departments and rescue services.The Newfane site was chosen because the production team had previously filmed another show in the area a few years ago, said another crew member.The production team was attracted to the idea of using area rescue officials in the re-enactment because it would appear more realistic and take less time, said one crew member."Working with real firefighters and real emergency personnel makes production easier," she said. "Shooting real people doing their real jobs makes production so much quicker."Brattleboro Fire Chief David Emery said the show's producers asked to use his department's crew and equipment because the NewBrook team didn't have the correct cold-water rescue equipment. His department was happy to volunteer the time to be on television, he said."It was really neat," Emery said. "It's something that doesn't happen to you every day."Emery's son, Chad, was also chosen to play Michael Moan, the Warwick firefighter who arrived alone at the scene and saved the lives of two of the boys. The producers flew Chad to Virginia on Wednesday to record some scenes for the episode.For the fire and rescue crews, working on the show was an opportunity to test out some equipment and brush up on some training."I've been working with these people since 6 a.m. and it's been great to try out some of these exercise in a non-emergency situation," said Rowell. "We always try to keep training for situations such as this and this was our opportunity to do that."
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Firefighters learn ice rescue skills


    Firefighters learn ice rescue

    January 26, 2003


    St. Joseph, MO - Participants in exercise will soon teach techniques Passers-by were surprised to see a group of people dressed in red or yellow suits moving around on Corby Pond Saturday.The opportunity to witness an ice rescue was the last thing he expected to see Saturday, said Barry Nouzovsky, a senior at Lafayette High School. “I stopped because it was really neat to see something I’ve watched on television,” Mr. Nouzovsky said.Sixteen firefighters, including six from St. Joseph, were out on the Corby Pond ice for some hands-on experience in learning how to teach ice rescue techniques. Their equipment included a Stokes basket, a firefighter’s pike and lots of ropes.Mr. Nouzovsky and other passers-by who stopped at the pond observed a series of rescues when a hole was cut into the pond ice. The three-day class teaches firefighters how to conduct an eight-hour class on the fundamentals of ice rescue.Dave Jephson, a trainer with Dive Rescue International, Fort Collins, Colo., conducted the class, which was sponsored by the St. Joseph Fire Department.“The primary concern in ice rescue is to get the victim and the rescuer to shore safely,” Mr. Jephson said.In some rescues, a victim may sustain cracked ribs during the recovery process, he said. That’s all right, if the rescuer succeeds in getting that person to shore, Mr. Jephson said. Those ribs will mend, he said. Mr. Jephson, who lives in British Columbia, Canada, said he was excited about the class.“Within a month these 16 instructors will have taught at least 320 other rescue personnel the ins and outs of ice rescue,” he said.The six men from the St. Joseph Fire Department are going to be instructing their entire department on ice rescue procedures, he said.The ice was about eight inches thick Saturday. The future instructors got a surprise when at one point during the class there was a loud cracking sound. A portion of the ice began to sink under their feet, but no one had to be rescued.Before leaving the scene, firefighters replaced the blocks of ice. The ice would refreeze overnight, Mr. Jephson said.Today, the new instructors will teach a class and be critiqued on their presentations, he said
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Lisbon Fire Dept. plucks dog from icy pond


    Saturday, January 25, 2003

    Family dog plucked to safety from icy pond

    By Amy Beth Preiss
    Norwich Bulletin

    LISBON, CT --Abbey is alive today thanks to the Lisbon Fire Department. The 3-year-old Australian cattle dog was rescued early Friday morning from the icy waters of a pond at 114 Town House Road. Rescuers with the volunteer fire department responded to a call at 4 a.m. that a canine had fallen through ice on a pond on the side of the house. The dog belongs to the Green family, who is thankful to the fire department. "My husband let the dog out to do her doggie thing," Mary Beth Green said Friday. Green said the dog decided to take a stroll on the pond, something it has done numerous times. She said the dog is usually very careful about walking on ice and usually gets off as soon as she hears a crack. "But then my husband heard her barking and he went right back out to find her," she said. There was one very small area of the pond that was not frozen and Green suspects her dog was trying to drink from that spot. Her husband attempted to rescue the dog using a ladder. When he was unsuccessful, the family called the fire department. Green said she suspects the dog was in the water for 45 minutes. "He realized he couldn't get her out himself," Green said. "We just can't believe it, most anything wouldn't have survived that. We can't believe she has no frostbite or anything. She is perfectly fine. We can't believe it. She is acting normal and actually wants to go back outside. The Lisbon Volunteer Fire Department was excellent. Deputy Fire Chief Thomas Sparkman said Chief Mark Robinson arrived on the scene to find that the small dog had fallen through the ice about 35 feet from shore in approximately 12 feet of water. Rescuers put on their cold water rescue suits, went out onto the pond, entered the frigid waters and rescued little Abbey, Sparkman said. "The little thing was just paddling away in the ice there waiting for us to get to her," Sparkman said. Sparkman said the department purchased the cold-water rescue suits late last year. And, by luck, Lisbon Fire Department members and members of the Baltic Fire Department completed a certification course last Sunday, which allowed rescuers to place the suits in service. "We just can't believe she is OK," Green said. "It's a miracle she is fine. The Lisbon Volunteer Fire Department was excellent."
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Rescue mission breaks the ice


    The Daily Record

    Rescue mission breaks the ice

    By Abbott Koloff, Daily Record

    This time, they had time to talk about technique, to listen to instruction, and to correct mistakes. Members of Jefferson Fire Company No. 2 spent a cold morning on the ice of Lake Hopatcong, some of them in freezing water, where they practiced saving lives.John Zylinski, along with more than a dozen others, wore a protective neoprene suit, known as a Gumby suit, and practiced pulling people out of the water. He said this was nothing like the real thing, when his heart races, his adrenaline's pumping, and he races to save a victim whose body temperature is dropping."You know the clock is ticking," Zylinski said.More than 50 members of Fire Company No. 2, along with members of the Jefferson Township Rescue Squad, held an ice rescue practice session Sunday morning at the Lake Forest Yacht Club.Trip to lakeAt a time when many people were still curled up in bed, they gathered at headquarters and packed up equipment to take to the lake. Once there, men and women who during the week are accountants, salespeople and utility workers practiced riding a special two-pontoon sled that glides on ice and floats on water. They passed victims from the sled to a stretcher. They tested a rescue basket that can be placed on another sled and towed off the ice by an all-terrain vehicle."We try to do this once or twice a year," said Jonathon Van Norman, 28, chief of Fire Company No. 2 and a automobile sales manager.Officials said the company usually gets more than three calls each winter to rescue people from the lake. Sometimes, passers-by get victims out of the water before the ice rescue team arrives. Otherwise, firefighters know they sometimes have only minutes to save a victim before their body temperature drops too low.The company hasn't performed any rescues this year because the lake froze quickly, officials said, and there have been fewer areas of thin ice than usual. There weren't any rescues last year because the water didn't freeze. But there are plenty of snowmobiles on the lake this year, along with windsurfers, ice fishermen, ice skaters and people who simply like to stroll across the lake's frozen surface.And while the ice is 10 inches thick in places, Mickey DeLoreto, a past chief of Fire Company 2, said Lake Hopatcong is known for underwater springs producing areas of thin ice.Three years ago, the company rescued a man who had fallen through the ice while walking with his wife. The man helped his wife out of the water and she called 911, officials said. That was an especially difficult rescue, firefighters said, because it was dark and snowing.Also three years ago, a snowmobile hit some rocks in the middle of the lake and its passengers were injured. Firefighters commandeered passing snowmobiles in order to reach them. Since then, the township purchased two ATVs for the company.Tim Johnson, an 18-year-old firefighter, played the first victim of the day. He donned his Gumby suit and walked across the ice, looking for a good place to fall into the water. The Gumby suit offers protection in 35-degree water for about six hours but it's not completely sealed at the neck.DeLoreto, standing on a nearby dock, suggested that Johnson get on his hands and knees so he wouldn't fall straight down and be completely submerged, allowing water to seep into his suit. With water temperatures just above freezing, DeLoreto said that wouldn't be terribly comfortable.Bob Place, in the department for five years, straddled the pontoons of the rescue sled and pulled Johnson on board. He practiced the same maneuver several times while DeLoreto, standing on a nearby dock, made suggestions about how to fine-tune his technique. Performing a rescue in a Gumby suit can be tricky, firefighters said."You've got no flexibility," said Place, 41.Firefighters later practiced passing victims to rescue squad members. Bill Flatt, captain of the rescue squad, said his squad members would then cut off a victim's clothes and pack them in blankets to raise their body temperature. He said a victim can survive perhaps 10 to 15 minutes in the water.So firefighters practiced new techniques, such as getting in the water to get a sling around victims. Afterward, they went back to the firehouse, where they had soup and sandwiches, and their chief, Van Norman, reminded them of some of the dangers of ice rescues. All it takes is one misstep, he said, for a firefighter to go from rescuing someone to needing to be rescued.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Ice complicates water rescue attempts


    Ice complicates water rescue attempts

    Tuesday, January 28, 2003

    Staff Writer

    Steering a boat through ice is no easy feat.
    But when there's an accident on frozen waters and the temperature is below freezing, sometimes it has to be done.

    This weekend the dangers of attempting to navigate and ice-filled river were illustrated again.
    U.S. Coast Guard workers and emergency personnel in Lower Alloways Creek Township responded to a small plane crash on Pea Patch Island on Sunday night, despite the portion of the Delaware River being frozen.
    "When there are icy conditions it will limit any type of boat you send out," said Lieutenant Commander Tim Meyers of the U.S. Coast Guard base in Philadelphia. "First thing we usually consider (in these conditions) is sending a helicopter."
    The atmospheric weather conditions, such as wind and visibility, also play a role in determining whether to send a helicopter or boat, Meyers said. Helicopters also have a swimmer on board.
    The LAC river rescue team responded to Sunday's plane crash, but when they got halfway there, the ice in the Delaware River shifted, LAC Fire Chief David Hinchman said. They had to wait for tugboats to come out and break the ice. Two tugboats did come and the rescue boat followed close behind.
    According to Hinchman, the river hasn't been frozen this bad since the mid 1990's. LAC Fire Department is one of two departments in the county that has marine rescue capabilities, the other being Salem.
    "This is the first time we ever really had a problem getting out in the winter," Hinchman said. "Everybody was trying to get through the ice. Some ice clusters are sharp enough to cut a hole in the regular boat if you hit it hard enough."
    Meyers said that the Coast Guard station has two ice breaker boats that are on call all the time for search and rescue. They also have larger ice breaker boats that are also buoy tenders. They may send one of those, depending on what vessel is closer to the area.
    On Sunday, they sent a buoy tender and also dispatched a helicopter. When rescuers from New Jersey and Delaware arrived on Pea Patch Island, they found the burned single-engine plane. The two people aboard were killed.
    "In the last few years, we haven't had conditions that were quite this bad," Meyers said. "Icy conditions do limit our response capabilities. We are not able to respond as we could without the ice."
    Aside from getting through the ice, Hinchman said that one of the main concerns is preventing hypothermia. There are special suits that the rescuers where so they don't get frostbitten. Hinchman also said that paramedics check the volunteers when they come back to make sure they're OK.
    "When the river is frozen in the winter, marine rescue is a lot harder to do," Hinchman said.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Another snowmobile goes into Winnebago


    Feb. 05, 2003

    Another snowmobile goes into Winnebago

    By Lee Reinsch
    the reporter

    Winnebago Co., WI - Despite the fact that two men died on Lake Winnebago over the weekend and that officials are telling people to stay off the ice, another snowmobiler went through the ice on Tuesday.Luckily, the person involved in the most recent mishap wasn’t hurt.
    Fire Department Battalion Chief Toby Leeds says the man had been snowmobiling on the Fond du Lac River channel and had just gotten to the mouth of the river at Lake Winnebago when he hit thin ice and went through.It happened around 6 p.m. Tuesday about 30 feet offshore from Frazier Point, in the same spot two cars went through the ice a week ago, said Leeds. No one was hurt in that incident a week ago, either.
    Two other cars went though the ice early Monday morning, resulting in the drowning of Zacheria Pickart, 19, of Fond du Lac. A 36-year-old Ripon man, Dennis Scheuers, was killed Saturday night when his snowmobile hit a chunk of ice and went airborne, throwing him from the machine.Regarding Tuesday’s incident, Leeds said, “He was up and out of the water right away.”
    Leeds said his department did not take down the man’s name after checking him out. “He was cold and wet, but that’s about it,” said Leeds.The water was very shallow in the spot where Tuesday’s snowmobiler went through the ice. Leeds estimates it at only two or three feet.
    “You could see the handlebars (of the snowmobile) sticking up out of the water,” Leeds said.Department of Natural Resources Conservation Warden Ed McCann says the ice is dangerous and people should stay away from it. He said he has several public talks slated over the next two days in which he will try to get the message out to the public. He will speak on local radio stations.
    Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Mick Fink has deemed ice conditions on Lake Winnebago “treacherous.”
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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