Winter - Water Rescue News
Dec 9, 2002
Two Teens Die of Hypothermia when Jetski Fails
"Water Scooter Trip Deadly For 2 Teens"
By JULIA FERRANTE
HUDSON, FL - Chad Lewis began to worry when 5 p.m. came and went Saturday and his son Jason had not returned home. Jason Lewis and his friend Zachary Lukas had left Brooksville for a water scooter outing at 1 p.m. They were supposed to be back before dark. ``I was out there all last night hoping against hope that they would survive the cold,'' Chad Lewis said Sunday.
``It appears they didn't.'' At 9 a.m. Sunday, the Coast Guard, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Hernando County Sheriff's Office ended a 10-hour search that spanned 772 square miles of the Gulf.
A commercial fisherman on the vessel Crab Chaser found the teens and their disabled Polaris watercraft five to six miles northwest of Hudson, in the Sea Pines tripod area, Fish and Wildlife said.
``It's every parent's nightmare that they lose their child, and each of us lost a child today,'' Chad Lewis said. ``It's going to be hard to go on after this, even though I know that's what has to be done.'' Lewis and Lukas, both 16 and students at Hernando High School, launched Lukas' water scooter from a dock in Aripeka, in Pasco County near the Pasco-Hernando line, said Lt. Clyde Jordan, Fish and Wildlife watch commander.
Family members reported them missing to the Hernando sheriff's office at about 6 p.m., and Hernando notified the other agencies. The Pasco County Sheriff's Office was called to assist Sunday as the teens were transported to a county boat ramp in Hudson. Although the cause of the deaths had not been determined, investigators suspected that the teens succumbed to hypothermia after their watercraft engine failed and they drifted for hours in 60-degree waters, high winds and strong tides, Jordan said.
Sunday afternoon, the Coast Guard issued a warning to boaters about the dangers of hypothermia, which officials said can set in at any temperature over a period of time. Fish and Wildlife investigators extracted ropes and a crushed crab trap from the water intake mechanism of the swamped watercraft, agency Officer Jack Angelis said. ``That apparently stalled them out,'' he said.
But officials did not think the teens were boating in the 8- to 9-feet-deep water where they were found. More likely, Angelis said, they drifted with the northeast wind and a southwest tide. Lewis and Lukas were described by family and friends as strong swimmers, and there were no signs of injury or drowning, Fish and Wildlife spokesman Gary Morse said.
The youths were wearing bathing suits and life jackets. ``They were doing what they were supposed to do,'' Jordan said. ``But when the core body temperature drops below 72 degrees, hypothermia starts to set in.'' Jordan said personal watercraft accidents are common, but usually not fatal.
``We run into overturned Jet Skis all the time,'' he said. ``Jet Ski accidents are fairly routine. Death is not.'' Friend Chris Ramsey said the teens were ``really good kids'' who earned high marks in school. He said they were good swimmers, but neither had extensive water scooter experience.
This story can be found at: http://www.tampatrib.com/MGAWBGOXH9D.html
Man rescued after fall through ice
Man Falls Through Ice, Rescued with New Tool
December 2, 2002
Minneapolis - St. Paul, MN
Police and firefighters rescued a Golden Valley man Sunday after he fell through ice on Sweeny Lake.
Authorities did not provide the man's name, or his condition. It is known that he is in his seventies and he had checked the ice depth in several spots before he began skating on it.
The Minnesota DNR issued an ice-safety warning for the Thanksgiving holiday after three boys fell through the ice on an Anoka County pond and died earlier in November. Rescue workers used a new tool to help save the man, a device called a Frisbuoy ResQdisc.
The ResQdisc is about the size of a Frisbee, but is thicker and is wound with 80 feet of rope. The rescuer attaches one end of the rope to their wrist and throws the disc to the person in the water. The technique allows rescuers to get a victim out of the water quickly. Hypothermia, the critical loss of body heat, is the biggest risk from a fall through the ice.
Many fire and rescue departments will not risk crewmember lives by sending them onto thin ice. Instead they wait until a rowboat, or other rescue device, is available.
Child falls thru ice, drowns in city park
Child drowns at city park
6-year-old girl was trying to get a shoe, but fell through ice
By Mike Patty, Rocky Mountain News
December 2, 2002
A 6-year-old girl who apparently tried to recover a shoe from an ice-covered Denver lake drowned Sunday, despite efforts of bystanders and emergency personnel to save her. The girl's identity was withheld by police until relatives could be notified. Denver Police Det. John White said the accident occurred about 12:45 p.m. when the girl and her cousin went out onto the ice at the south end of the lake at Garfield Lake Park, located at South Lowell Boulevard and West Mississippi Avenue. "It's our understanding the victim was here to visit her father and she and her cousin were playing near the lake when they saw a shoe on the ice," White said. "They went out onto the ice and the victim fell through."
The female cousin of the girl, also unidentified, made it safely back to shore. Jason Tolliver of Highlands Ranch was driving by the lake with his girlfriend when they saw the little girl go in. "I called 911 on my cell phone and turned the car around to see if we could help," Tolliver said. "When we got there, one guy was bobbing around in the water and another man, who I think was the girl's father, had gone in. We got a garden hose from a neighbor's house and were able to use it to pull them both out." The would-be rescuers both nearly became victims themselves and later had to be treated for hypothermia, White said. Sheila Jackson, a neighbor, said she saw the girls on the ice and the girl go through. "She fell on her butt and went right into the water," Jackson said. "I ran to get help." Jackson got her boyfriend, Mario Peña, who helped rescue the would-be rescuers. "I was fixing my car when my girlfriend came running up and said a little girl had fallen through the ice," Peña said. "There was an older man and her father in the water and we pulled them out. I started to go into the water, but it was too cold." Denver firefighters and paramedics quickly arrived on the scene and began searching for the girl. One diver went into the lake wearing a wet suit, while three firemen in a raft began probing the area with long poles. A fire engine ladder was extended over the lake and a firefighter climbed up to get a better view. The Denver Police helicopter also was brought in to try to spot the girl's body. The girl was located and pulled out of the lake about 46 minutes after going through the ice. At first, rescuers hoped she could be resuscitated because she was so young and the water was so cold. "There have been cases of victims surviving up to 48 minutes under water in similar conditions," White said. But Dr. Steve Cantrill of Denver Health Medical Center said the resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. Tolliver said the ice was about three inches thick near the shore and about an inch thick where the girl fell through, about 25 feet from shore. "Everybody did everything they could," said Tolliver, who ironically was on his way to buy scuba gear when he drove past the lake. "I wish we could have done more. But if we had jumped in, they would be pulling more bodies out of the water." In another touch of irony, Tolliver said his 6-year-old brother drowned when he was 14. "This just brings back all those bad memories," he said.
Man dies of cold after boat capsizes, Mich.
Batavia man dies of hypothermia on fishing trip
By Veronica Gonzalez
Daily Herald Staff Writer
December 04, 2002
Lake Michigan- Steve Hudgens was so excited about his annual post-Thanksgiving fishing trip that he cajoled his family into letting him leave a couple days early.Only this time, the 49-year-old husband and father of two would not make it home.Hudgens and a friend died of hypothermia Saturday as they and a third friend fished in Little Bay de Noc, a popular spot for walleye in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.In addition to Hudgens, Joseph Zahn, 50, of Sheboygan Falls, Wis., died. Stephen Smithberger, 43, of Union, Ill., survived.At 11 a.m. Saturday, the three men pushed off from shore near the town of Escanaba, Mich., in Smithberger's 181/2-foot boat, said Delta County Sheriff Lt. Gary Ballweg.The temperature was 15 degrees, Ballweg said. With 30 mph winds, the wind chill plunged below zero, he said. Waves up to six feet high pummeled at the boat. The motor died about 1:30 p.m., and a smaller trolling motor used for fishing gave out, too. The boat was taking on water.And then the bilge pump froze.Strong wind and waves pushed them away from the harbor from where they'd started.Using a cell phone, they tried to call friends staying in a motel, Ballweg said. The line was busy. They tried to call 911, but before the last number was dialed, a wave swallowed the phone, Ballweg said.Waves eventually capsized the boat, then righted it again, he said. It was at the water's mercy. The men were soaked. They clung on wearing life jackets and layers of clothing.The water temperature was 38 degrees."There was nobody else out there," Ballweg said.Finally, a woman who lived across the bay spotted the boat around dusk and contacted police.Police fought through a layer of ice and rescued Smithberger.A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter recovered Hudgens' body about 7:30 p.m., and Zahn's body was recovered about 10:30 p.m., Ballweg said.Hudgens had been fishing for 23 years, and he used to go ice fishing in Escanaba."They're used to the waters," said his wife, Bonnie."They're used to the cold. They had sub-zero gear for this," she said. "They would have never gone out if they felt it was treacherous. They went out and the conditions changed, and it was just one of those freak things."
Flagstaff firefighters prepare for ice rescues
By LARRY HENDRICKS
Sun Staff Reporter
It's winter. A young boy is on the bank of a pond in Flagstaff. The surface of the pond is iced over. The ice looks sturdy to the boy. He walks onto the ice, wandering farther from shore. The ice starts to crack from the boy's weight. Then, the ice breaks, and the boy plunges into the freezing water.
Firefighters with the Flagstaff Fire Department are prepared and equipped to respond to this type of tragedy this winter when the local bodies of water start to freeze over. They recently reviewed their training in cold water rescues, and have three cold-water rescue suits strategically placed on fire engines throughout the city.
On Tuesday, Cpt. Tim White of the fire department headed up a demonstration of a cold-water rescue at the Duck Pond behind Flagstaff High School. "We recognize cold water season from the 1st of October to the 1st of May," White said, as firefighters from Station 5 and Station 1 prepared the demonstration.
The ice/cold-water rescue suits are kept on engines whose stations are near bodies of water -- Cheshire, Continental and further east at Station 3 off Railhead Avenue. The suits cost $500. With accessories -- helmet, personal flotation device, harness -- they cost approximately $1,100.
All of the 70-plus firefighters in Flagstaff go through training every year, donning the suits in cold-water rescue. The suits were bought in 1988 after a 1987 incident at the Duck Pond, said Cpt. Clayton Dillahunty.
A young man under the influence of drugs walked across the ice to the island in the middle of the pond. At the time, the fire department didn't have the suits and had to use ladders to keep from falling through the ice to get to the young man.
The chief at the time saw a need and Dillahunty looked into costs and was allocated the funds to buy two suits. "It's worked out pretty good for us," Dillahunty said, adding that the suits, on average, are used approximately once a year -- not always for rescues.
During the flood of 1992 in Continental, Dillahunty said the suits were used extensively by firefighters working in the area. There have been no cold-water drownings in Flagstaff in recent history that Dillahunty and White can remember. But the potential is there, White said.
Every winter, he sees kids on the ice in Continental playing. "It only takes one fatality to justify the expense of this equipment," Dillahunty said. White said nobody should ever walk on ice in Flagstaff. "We don't have good ice in Arizona," he said. The temperatures vary too much during the winter and the ice "rots" easily.
White explained how a ice/cold-water rescue would happen. An engine with a suit closest to the incident would be sent, and a second closest would follow as backup. All rescue situations have one rescuer in the water or on the ice, while the other is on shore to rescue the rescuer if need be. Up to 50 percent of cold-water deaths are rescuers, Dillahunty said.
Cold water presents its own set of problems. Hypothermia can set in as quickly as five minutes for an average size person, Dillahunty estimated. Hence, the suits. "Unless properly equipped, don't go into the water," White said of people who see a victim who has fallen through the ice. Call for help, White said. Try to get a line or a branch or something to victim without getting into water or out onto ice, and try to keep victim calm.
When firefighters arrive, they determine the type of rescue needed based on "reach, throw, go" Dillahunty said. If the victim can be reached with pole, ladder or rope and the victim is conscious, that type is used. "Go," which requires a rescuer to go out on ice or into water, is the most dangerous.
Aaron Wells of Station 1 was the rescuer for the demonstration. Fred Sonive of Station 5, 32 year veteran with the fire department, was the victim. Both took about 3 minutes to suit up. Sonive swam to the center of the pond. Wells then went out to rescue.
If the pond had been iced over, Wells would have crawled up to place where the victim fell through using a ladder as support to disperse his weight on the ice. Wells had a rope attached to him so the crew on shore could bring in rescuer and victim. Wells reached Sonive and talked to him. He then put a harness on Sonive. "OK," Wells told the crew on shore. "Haul away," Dillahunty said. "Slow and easy." The two were brought to shore.
Had Sonive been a real victim, he would have been taken to an awaiting ambulance for evaluation and transportation to the hospital. After the demonstration, Wells said while he was swimming out to Sonive he was focusing on what he was to do when he reached Sonive. Wells would assess if the victim was awake or not. If awake, Wells would immediately begin talking to the victim to keep the victim calm and from struggling against rescue. He would sling the harness and position himself behind the victim. "That way we have easier control of that person," Wells said, adding that while they were being pulled to shore, he would continue to talk and reassure the victim. Ice/cold-water rescue is one of several special operations firefighters with the fire department are trained for, White said.
Other special operations include rope rescue, trench rescue, structural collapse rescue, confined space rescue, and hazardous material clean up.
Reporter Larry Hendricks can be reached at 913-8607 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rescue Team Searches For Ice Fisherman
Ice fisherman drowns
December 2, 2002
By RALPH ANSAMI
Globe News Editor
SPRINGSTEAD, Wis. -- The body of a 48-year-old ice fishermen who ventured out too early on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage was recovered Sunday morning by an airboat rescue team.
Mark E. Fort, 48, of Eau Claire, Wis., apparently drowned, according to Iron County Sheriff Robert Bruneau. His body was found in the flowage next to his three-wheeler machine. Fort had been missing since Friday evening.
A friend told deputies Fort had gone ice fishing with the three-wheeler, pulling a sled, and was due back in Springstead around dark. When he didn't show up around 7 p.m. Friday, the sheriff's department was notified.
The sheriff's department later received a report a man had spotted a three-wheeler and light head into the distance on the 14,321-acre impoundment, which is the fourth largest inland body of water in the state.
"Recovery efforts were hampered by the poor weather," Bruneau noted. Thin ice prevented deputies and volunteers from venturing out immediately.
An initial effort to get a rescue boat to the scene resulted in the boat being stuck in slush at the Springstead boat landing.
On Saturday, deputies, Department of Natural Resources personnel and the Sawyer County rescue team used an airboat, but could not locate the missing man.
The search resumed Sunday morning and Fort's body was recovered around 10:46 a.m. by the airboat rescue team.
Iron County deputy coroner Jodie Bednar-Clemens said an autopsy will be performed.
Bruneau thanked the DNR, Sawyer rescue team, Park Falls ambulance, Town of Sherman volunteer fire department, Iron County Forestry Department and many who volunteered for their assistance
Offduty firfighter dies in icy water - 6 grueling days
Coatesville man’s body found in river
Coatesville Fire Co. workers honor fellow member Mario Scamuffa by carrying his body, draped with a flag, to a waiting vehicle as members of the Mont Clare and Phoenixville rescue units salute.
Dennis J. Wright
Special to The Mercury
December 04, 2002
MONT CLARE, WI -- After six grueling days of recovery efforts, search teams and divers retrieved the body of 36-year-old Mario Scamuffa from the Schuylkill River Tuesday afternoon.
According to Chester County Dive Teams coordinator Bob Motzer, Scamuffa’s body was retrieved from the water around 1:30 p.m.
"This recovery is an accumulation of efforts made by every unit that has worked this incident," he said. "A lot of brave men and women combined their skills and training into making this recovery a possibility."
A 1984 graduate of Coatesville Area Senior High School, Scamuffa was fishing with three friends Thanksgiving morning, when he slipped on ice on a concrete retainer wall and plunged into the frigid waters below.
Motzer said before beginning the day’s search that discussions were held regarding the offered use of specialized equipment.
"After further consultation, we realized that the available resources that were offered to us mirrored our existing resources," he said. "Those resources that were offered were brought in to spell relief to the efforts already made during this search. Fortunately, we were able to make the recovery with the talents and equipment we had available."
Overcome with emotion, Mont Clare Deputy Fire Chief Charles Palmer said crews began operations just before 8 a.m.
"The first crew came out around 8 a.m. and we kept them going for a while," he said. "We had a fresh crew come out in the afternoon. We have been rotating the crews due to the inclement temperatures in the air and in the water. The water temperature was 35 degrees while the temperature on shore was in the mid-20s."
The key to the recovery, Motzer said, was that the water flow dropped significantly overnight.
"Around 5:30 a.m., the water flow dropped to a point to where I wanted to get a dive crew ready," he said. "As the flow kept dropping, we eventually planned to have a dive in the afternoon.I kept watching and watching to see how low it would drop."
The afternoon boat crew called Palmer and Motzer just before 1:30 p.m. to notify them of the recovery.
"Two divers jumped in and were able to pull him from the water," Motzer said. "He had been pinned against the face of the dam ever since he fell in. The pressure that was keeping us from getting to him eventually subsided when the water flow dropped.
"Mr. Scamuffa was away from the dam approximately 45 minutes when he was spotted moving along the bottom of the river. We had good water visibility which was essential in recovering him."
Approximately 25 to 30 family members, friends and co-workers gathered at the top of the hill upon hearing news of the recovery.
"We would speak with everyone first thing in the morning," said Motzer. "They were very strong during this whole ordeal. They were a great group of people."
Representatives of several Coatesville fire companies appeared on the scene before the body was brought to shore.
"The City of Coatesville was notified and they wanted to carry him from the water to the coroner’s vehicle," said Motzer. "Being he was a volunteer firefighter, it was in the back of all of our minds as we were looking for him. He is one of our own in there. He still had his fire pager on his person."
During a highly emotional ceremony, Coatesville firefighters draped the body with an American flag and carried him from the river while rescue personnel lined up in an honor formation.
Family, friends and co-workers of Scamuffa looked on and wept openly as the body was placed in the coroner’s vehicle.
Shortly after, Scamuffa’s sister, Frances, led everyone in the Lord’s Prayer, and then thanked everyone involved in the recovery of her brother.
Motzer said the recovery was a tremendous effort by everyone involved.
"We had approximately 125 to 150 people constantly rotating in and out over the past six days, working hard and doing what they can," he said. "It is a true testament to the talents and determination of the personnel in bringing closure to the loved ones of the victim."
Divers attempt rescue of woman when car plunges thru ice, NY
Kiantone fatal car accident
December 6, 2002
Kiantone, NY - Divers and rescue crews spent hours on the ice trying to rescue a woman trapped in a car beneath the ice covered creekwater. Chautauqua County Sheriff's Deputies' efforts proved futile despite their efforts to save the victim late yesterday in the Town of Kiantone.
It happened Thursday when a car driven by 33-year-old Cynthia Brunacini of Mayville veered off route 62 near Frewsburg.
The car went about 300 feet before it crashed into the icy waters of Conewango Creek. Fire departments from Kiantone, Frewsberg, Falconer, Busti, Fluvanna and WCA and Allstar services responded. The Chautauqua County Water Emergency Team also responded and was able to recover Brunacini's body.
Brunacini was taken to WCA Hospital in Jamestown where she later died.
Firefighters rescue female victim from ice covered pond, IN
Water rescue quacks up officials
BY LAURI HARVEY
Times Staff Writer
LYNWOOD, IN -- Clad in a wetsuit, firefighter/engineer Art Schweitzer slowly slid from thicker ice to thin Wednesday moving toward a female victim stuck in the middle of the pond.
"Don't let her go, Art, just take it slow," called Lt. Jeff Hinkens -- who heads Lynwood's Dive Team -- from the shore where firefighters and police officers secured Schweitzer and his rescue sled via ropes.
"Watch her neck," Fire Chief Rich Eriks said.
As Schweitzer neared the victim, she flapped her wings and quacked loudly, until he had her secured in a net.
"Believe it or not, we received several calls about this duck from concerned residents," Eriks said.
The female mallard duck somehow made it to the center of the pond at Orchard Court just north of 198th Street late Wednesday morning and could not fly away or walk on the ice to the shoreline. When firefighters took the duck from the net and held her, they discovered some blood on one of her wings, which they believe she may have injured while flapping her wings on the ice in an attempt to free herself.
The eight police and firefighters at the scene -- complete with the Dive Team truck, two volunteer firefighter vehicles and a squad car -- had a good laugh over the attention received at the rescue, joking that it was a slow day.
When asked what they planned to do with their rescued victim, some of the firefighters and police officers joked that they would have a nice meal. In reality, police officers placed the bird in a cage and transported her in the open trunk of a squad car to determine the best place for her to receive treatment and care.
"Well, another rescue under our belts," Eriks joked as the crew left the scene. "Nice job, guys."
Follow-up to: Girl drowns in City park pond
Rocky Mountain News
'I had maybe a minute or two'
Firefighter who tried to rescue drowning girl had little time
By Jeff Kass, Rocky Mountain News
December 3, 2002
Minutes save lives. So Denver Fire Department Lt. Butch Hess, broke through ice, and waded into Garfield Lake Park Sunday afternoon. He put the life vest and tether over his standard-issue pants, button shirt and T-shirt. He figures the water was about 35 degrees. He waded in up to his neck, moving his arms and legs in circles. He hoped to touch a 5-year-old drowning girl.
"I just had maybe a minute or two; to get to the area and feel the body," Hess said. "If I could just find her real fast." Denver firefighters did find Selena Oliver, who fell through a thin layer of ice. She was floating in the middle of 6 feet of water, Hess said. But despite the efforts of bystanders and the firefighters, Oliver was pronounced dead. As one of the first firefighters on scene, Hess was able to provide a detailed narrative of the rescue effort. He had also spent eight years on the dive team. He knew he was headed into icy muck. "You're in about 6 inches of duck poop; you're sinking into it," Hess said. "The filthiest, dirtiest job you can imagine." It's part of the extremes of firefighting. "The water's cold," he said. "The fire's hot." Hess said he searched for two to three minutes, trying to move as much water as possible. "It probably looks real spastic," he said, referring to his effort. When the fire department dive team arrived, Hess said he exited the water, and found his old wet suit in the dive truck. He slipped into it and flopped on a boogie board to shadow two different divers searching underwater for Oliver.
Hess credits the divers with the hard work. But he too continued to search, methodically kicking the water; hoping to tap a body. Frantic eyewitness accounts said the girl fell in about 50 feet from the shore, according to Hess. The aquatic firefighters started the search at 40 feet. They found nothing but dense water. Another firefighter reinterviewed the witnesses. They revised the spot where the girl fell in. Hess and a second diver started in about 35 feet from the shore. Two, three, maybe four minutes passed. The diver's hand burst through the ice. Hess paddled over. The girl's dark-skinned face did not appear blue, Hess said. He placed her limp body, bundled in a dark, heavy coat, on the board. "She just looked like she was sleeping," he said. Hess said the whole search lasted about 30 minutes. They might have found Oliver sooner if they started out at a different location. But bodies move underwater. People thrash; currents swirl. Hess isn't sure they found Oliver near where she actually fell in. "Who really knows" where she dropped down, Hess said. "God knows."
2 men safe following plunge thru ice, as rescuers search, MN
Two men who fell through ice were safe as rescuers searched
Princeton, MN -Two men are safe after falling through the ice on Little Elk Lake near Zimmerman last week.
The Sherburne County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call about 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4. It was reported that two people had fallen through the ice on the lake. When emergency personnel arrived on the scene, they found a hole in the ice and miscellaneous ice fishing gear on the ice and floating in the water.
Sheriff Bruce Anderson said no individuals were on the ice or near the scene so cold-water rescue personnel were activated, including: Princeton and Zimmerman fire departments, hovercrafts from Sherburne and Mille Lacs counties, two ambulances (Zimmerman and Princeton) and Sherburne County Sheriff’s Department Reserves.
“While the search and rescue operation was being coordinated, two individuals approached us and said two had fallen through but both made it safely out of the water,” Anderson said.
Matthew Carlson, 18, Zimmerman, and Eric Mettling, 19, Zimmerman, told authorities they were walking out on Elk Lake with two friends where they had fished the day before when Carlson and Mettling fell through the ice. They were able to pull themselves up on to the ice, at which time they went back to Mettling’s nearby home to change clothes. They were returning to retrieve things from the water when they discovered there was a search effort underway.
“Those are definitely two very lucky individuals,” Anderson said. “They’re lucky to be alive.”
Cost benefit analysis ... Man or beast? No question if it were a child.
Thin ice, freezing water kill Angel Fire doe
ANGEL FIRE — On a frosty morning Thursday, Dec. 5, we stood at the shoreline of Monte Verde Lake and watched helplessly as a deer struggled to free herself from a cold watery hole in the ice, succumbed to its freezing temperature … and died.
At about 8 a.m., residents began calling the Angel Fire Police Department to report a deer was floundering on the ice.
“It was lying out on the ice and every time it’d try to stand up, it’d slide,” said lakeside resident Mark Stewart. By about 8:40, the doe had fallen through.
A little after 9:15 a.m. I arrived from The Chronicle to find Stewart standing alone at the lake’s western shore. Stewart told me he had asked Angel Fire Resort security if he could use his canoe to try to break a path through the ice so the doe could swim out, but he was told “no.”
“The resort just didn’t want to risk a person’s life and I understand that. They are responsible. If they said ‘yes’ then something happened to me, they’d have been responsible. It was just an idea. I just thought it might work. It might not have.”
Kevin Ward, resort membership director, said Monday, “We did call Game and Fish and we did call the village as well. We certainly don’t want to put any human life at risk.
“We’ll leave rescues to the professionals though we’ll do everything we can to assist.”
While we waited for Game and Fish officials to arrive, Mark and I watched as the deer, which was at least 150 feet from the shore, kicked and struggled to keep her head above the ice. Stewart said he could hear her bleating just before I arrived. “She’d been in the water awhile before she started that. When she fell in the water she just kind of rested. Then she started swimming continuously and she bleated as she tried to push up against the ice.”
‘No safe way’
A few minutes later, Angel Fire Fire Chief Ellison Hensley and paramedic Robyn Vallier arrived.
Pointing to the unstable ice which was thick in spots, dangerously thin in others — and nonexistent in places — Hensley said he couldn’t see any safe way for his department to attempt a rescue. “I just don’t see any safe way to do it, even on a skid.”
Hensley said his department had successfully rescued a dog that fell through closer to shore a few years ago. In this case, though, the deer was too far away to rescue safely. “I don’t want to sound cruel but I can see where I’d be losing a fireman easily. There is a cycle to nature and such things happen. It is sad to sit here and watch.”
Sad for more than the four of us, as Chronicle staffers fielded calls from upset residents including one from Vince Eppler of Angel Fire. “I’m a hunter but I don’t like to see an animal suffer.
“Things happen out there in nature but nature didn’t put the aerator out there,” Eppler said, adding a bear had also drowned a few years ago. “If man’s causing an illusion for the animal, we need to do something.”
Ward said the resort uses aerators to “protect the resort’s stocking investment. The fish would die.”
Danger! Thin ice
He added he hoped people would heed signs by the shore which warn, “Danger! Thin ice. No trespassing.”
Thursday as the deer butted feebly against the ice we could see how the water had frozen unevenly all over the lake leaving some spots thin, others thick enough to walk on — as the deer had — though not close enough to rescue the deer.
In the end, Stewart, Hensley, Vallier and I could do nothing but watch, and wait.… We speculated on the difference between hypothermia for a human — who likely would have succumbed in minutes — and a deer.
Eventually her head slipped from the ice and we knew she was dead.
Pat Snider, district wildlife supervisor for the state Game and Fish office in Raton, said Friday, “By the time we got there the animal had gone under. We try to respond to these situations. Sometimes we’re successful, sometimes we’re not.”
Snider added while this is not a regular occurrence, in some cases his department might “get out there where the ice is fairly stable and rope it and pull it back out on top.”
Snider said it can be dangerous to attempt such a rescue because the deer might fight her rescuers out of fear. “Deer hooves are pretty sharp.”
Given the length of time the deer was in the water, Snider said she might have succumbed to hypothermia even if they did have a way to pull her out. “When you’re dealing with hypothermia their systems are shutting down. There’s probably not a whole lot of pain.”
Snider said more deer die from getting struck by vehicles and expressed the belief people could do more to save lives if they slowed down on the highway.
What if it were a child?
As the deer ceased her struggle, Hensley wondered, “What are we going to do when it’s a kid? We’re going to have to be ready to deploy fast.”
He said he had looked at “immediately deployable devices that enable you to scoot or float directly to the victim. You’re probably looking at about $6,000 of expense. There’s added training that goes with this device and the person you put on it has to have a dry suit so if something goes wrong their risk is decreased. Nobody’s ever 100 percent safe.”
Hensley said Monday he had not budgeted for ice rescue equipment nor had it ever been brought before the Angel Fire Village Council. “Everything we buy is governed by available funds. I have to look at what we need most. Purchasing a new ambulance is a higher priority.”
Hensley repeated the danger involved in rescuing a deer— with the added uncertainty of how the animal might behave towards its rescuers. “This is a wild animal.
“The question we have to ask is what would we do if it were a child, which will happen someday.
“Of course I would risk human life for a child. I wouldn’t stand on the bank.”
Common sense ... "extension Cord"?
Pet rescue from pond can be costly lesson
BY LYNNE STIEFEL
Glenview, IL - When she spotted the family’s golden retriever thrashing about in the half-frozen pond behind her Indian Ridge home, Rhonda Konarski went into full rescue mode. “I'm an emergency room physician. I think fast,” she said a day after the Dec. 3 incident.
She grabbed the 25-foot extension cord used for the home’s Christmas lights, tied it around her waist and gave the other end to her housekeeper, Maria Kurnyta. “The dog was holding on with two paws trying to get out. By the time I came with the extension cord, she was going down,” Konarski said.
She walked carefully on the ice to cross the pond, but went crashing into the water when she reached Sunny, who was about 25 feet out. “I pushed the dog out and then my housekeeper pulled me out,” she said. “I knew with that thing, the housekeeper would be able to get me out.” Konarski told her tale as a precaution to those whose homes are near detention ponds or lakes. “It happened to me and the dog. It could happen to anybody,” she said. “If that had happened and my kids were home, they would have gone out after the dog.”
While he understands Konarski’s zeal to rescue her dog, Glenview Deputy Fire Chief Mike Sawicki would discourage anyone from risking his or her life to save a pet.
Instead, he suggested a telephone call to the fire department. “If the animal is panicked, it can do a lot of damage” not only to the animal itself but also the person trying to save its life, he warned. Sawicki said firefighters have special tools that can be used in cold water rescues, including insulated wet suits and an aerial ladder truck that can extend 105 feet.
As well, firefighters have the experience to determine whether attempting to save an animal would pose too great a risk to the rescuer. “The responding engine company could come up with a creative way to rescue the animal balancing the risks against the ultimate benefit,” he said. As for those who would skate or play on ponds that appear to be frozen, Sawicki also has advice: don’t. “Only go on ice that has been posted by a reputable authority as being safe to be on,” he said.
“Unless they have an expert come out to determine whether it is safe to be on, you have to assume that it’s unsafe. Depending on how the body of water is fed, one area might be more significantly frozen over than another.” That’s advice the Konarskis understand. They've watched neighbors’ children play hockey on the three ponds in Indian Ridge for the 15 years they've lived there. “My husband refuses to let the kids on the lake,” Rhonda Konarski said.
3 rescued from icy pond
December 13, 2002
Roar 'caught my attention'
Union man rescues ice skaters from Indiana Lake
By JIM MEENAN
Tribune Staff Writer
UNION, IN ---- James Gillespie heard what seemed like a roar when three ice skaters skated by his home on Indiana Lake on Wednesday afternoon
"It caught my attention," he said of what he described as a strange noise made by the lake. "So I kept an eye on things."
Gillespie, of Union, was out in his front yard that faces the lake, washing his car near his boat landing, enjoying the sun and the lake's beauty on a day when the temperatures hit the 40s.
It was because of that sun and temperature that he had decided to put off for one day a visit to his mother in Niles, after getting off work from Modineer at 2 p.m.
It's a good thing for Glenda Bonta, a grandmother, of Union, her granddaughter Bethany Bonta, 14, and her friend, Rachel Makielski, 12, that he did. Both Bethany and Rachel are from Bristol. Indiana Lake sits on the Michigan-Indiana border.
Because Gillespie was there, he was on hand when the trio fell through the ice at Indiana Lake around 4:30 p.m.
Because he was there, all three are alive today, along with Glenda's son Joey, 45, who fell in, along with his two dogs, while trying to save the trio.
Gillespie was just about done washing the car on Wednesday afternoon. In fact, he was disconnecting the hose and just about ready to go inside when he heard a cry for help.
"I heard someone say, 'I fell in the water. I am in the water,' " he recalled.
"I came around the corner and could see one of the young ladies in one of the holes in the ice. The other two were in another hole."
Gillespie went to the water's edge and could tell the ice was pretty thin. He then pounded on his front door to get his wife, Kaylynn's attention, and told her to call 911, while pointing to the lake so she would know what happened.
He then went to work.
He grabbed a long extension cord from his nearby shed and headed towards the water.
Out about 30 to 40 feet from shore ---- in the water ---- were the two girls and the grandmother.
"One was yelling 'I am going to die, I am going to die,' " Gillespie recalled. "I said, 'Honey, not today. You are not dying today.' "
Coming into the picture was Bonta's son, Joey Bonta, of Bristol, the father of Bethany, who was skating to their rescue, his two dogs behind him.
Gillespie threw Joey the cord.
"I got out on the ice, and Joey grabbed the other end," Gillespie, who was more or less crawling on the ice himself at this point to disperse his weight, said. But Joey Bonta suddenly crashed through.
Gillespie could see that Bethany had gone under next to Joey. "I am yelling to grab her," Gillespie said. "I could see her behind him and her face finally came up. He put her towards me and put the cord in her hands."
The rescue was far from over, though. As the girl pulled on the cord, she pulled Gillespie along the ice.
"I am sliding and thinking maybe if I can get in the water where I was at, maybe I would be in better shape" for traction, he said.
"I had a feeling I could touch bottom."
Though the lake had a big drop-off just a few feet away from where the four went in, Gillespie, who is 6-foot-1-inch tall, was able to touch the bottom, the water going up to the lower part of his chest.
He then got to Bethany and flipped her out of the lake. By then, others had thrown a rope and life preservers out on the lake.
Gillespie was able to get the rope to Rachel, and then flipped her out of the water.
By then, just Glenda was standing next to him. Gillespie grabbed her and set her up on the ice.
"I got her up flat with her stomach on the ice," he said. "I grabbed her ankles and pushed her forward a couple times. By then the neighbors got a rope to her and pulled her ashore."
The two girls made it to shore in a similar fashion.
Gillespie and Joey made it also, but they did so by cracking ice with their wrists and gradually pushing their way to shore.
As they got out of the water, Gillespie could hear the ambulance coming. Other neighbors and Porter Township fire and ambulance personnel had arrived to assist in the rescue.
After he had gone inside his home to get warm, paramedics checked him out.
Like everyone, give or take a few slight cuts from the ice, he was OK.
Gillespie credits his father, Louis, the former safety director for the American Red Cross in St. Joseph County and Elkhart County, and his constant reminders about safety with helping him keep his poise during the rescue.
He said the whole ordeal made him feel good about a lot of things when it was over.
"I felt good about being alive," he said. "And the other people being alive. I felt good about the human race. It's a good feeling to be able to help people."
Glenda Bonta called Gillespie on Wednesday night to thank him.
She and the girls had been out on the ice for about a half hour when they fell through.
"It was just an unfortunate accident," she said Thursday. "The ice was not strong enough like we thought it was."
She also was thankful for the efforts of her son, Joey.
Gillespie, meanwhile, remembered the lessons of his father, whom he spoke with after the accident.
"The water can be very dangerous anytime of year," he said.
"If you live around it, you have to watch out for your neighbors and other people on the water."
Staff writer Jim Meenan
dept. trains for worst
Stamford firefighters brush up on ice rescue training
By J. Clyde Wills
December 13, 2002
STAMFORD, CT -- Ice rescue in Stamford is rare, often reserved for pets and stranded geese. Still, fire Capt. Bill Avalos said ice rescue training is necessary for the few times it may save lives.
Donning red cold-water exposure suits, commonly known as Gumby suits, a group of firefighters from the Stamford Fire & Rescue Department spent yesterday afternoon practicing ice-water rescues at Sterling Farm Golf Course in Stamford.
Made of a neoprene material, the suits are designed to retain body heat and maintain buoyancy in cold water. They have been used by fire departments since 1980.
"The suits were originally made for fisherman in Alaska so if you fell overboard you'd stay alive -- at least for a little while," said fireman Kurt Semmel, an instructor of yesterday's ice-rescue training.
"Even if you get a rip in them and they fill up with water you can't sink them," added fire Lt. Bill Wood.
The first step in an ice rescue is to throw the victim a line. Most of the time victims have been in the water for more than 10 minutes and have lost most of their dexterity from the cold, Semmel said.
That's when a firefighter has to go in and get them.
To conduct the rescue, the firefighter crawls flat on her belly in order to distribute her weight across thin ice, propelling herself with spikes so she can move quickly.
The rescuer then tries to get alongside the victim in order to pull them to safety. If the rescuer approaches from the front, it is possible for him to be pulled in with the victim as well, Semmel said.
It is essential that the victim remain calm, he said. In an ice rescue situation rescuers must be wary for their own safety as well.
"If he is going berserk on you, back off," he said.
Once the victim is secured with a tether, both he and the rescuer are pulled from the ice by firefighters standing on shore. If there are multiple victims, a sled is used to pull them to shore.
During the cold months a rescue victim has a decreased chance of drowning, Wood said. A reaction called mammallian dive reflex closes the throat automatically when a person is drowning in cold water, and victims are more likely to survive because no water gets in the lungs.
All of the Stamford fire engines carry Gumby suits year-round. However, firefighters have to be prepared to conduct an ice rescue without them. Even their turnout gear can provide buoyancy, Wood said.
During ice rescues, a dive team also is prepared to enter the water in wetsuits. Due to their buoyancy, Wood said, Gumby suits are of no use if the victim is submerged.
Because it takes longer to put on scuba gear, Avalos said, the rescuer in the Gumby suit is used to mark the spot where the victim went under.
It isn't often that Stamford Fire and Rescue needs to break out the suits, Wood said. In most cases rescue calls involve dive rescues in much warmer weather.
"People know to stay off the ice," he said.
Avalos said parents should concentrate on prevention and warn their children about the dangers of falling into a frozen pond.
"We've had an early winter this year so kids should be careful," he said.
3 girls rescue from icy river, NY
Three Burlington Girls Rescued From Winooski River
By Eszter Vajda
December 13, 2002 -- Terry Goodrich says it started out as just another Friday at the Waste Water Plant in Burlington, when he looked across the Winooski River and saw two girls floating on ice.
" Panic, I was afraid."
He was afraid that the girls would fall through the thin ice.
Across the river rescue officials arrived at about 9:20AM and found two girls wearing back packs.
They told officials a third girl was also missing.
As rescue efforts for the two girls were under way, the third girl was found down the river also on a piece of ice.
The Coast Guard pulled the girls back to shore, and to safety.
The three girls were treated and released at Fletcher Allen.
They were not injured.
The Burlington girls range in age between nine and eleven.
Many say they were skipping school.
Winooski Fire Chief David Bergron says, "the ice is thin and is very dangerous."
"Folks at home.. tell your children stay off the ice."
Terry Goodrich is being hailed a hero. But he is just glad the girls are safe.
2 men rescued after plunge into icy lake, MN
Ice Rescue on Lake Washington
December 13, 2002
Lake Washington, MN --It may be a few days before two Lake Crystal fishermen venture back out on the ice. Eighty-year-old Robert Bresser and 76-year-old Joe Schmidt were returning to shore after ice-fishing on Lake Washington late yesterday afternoon when they apparently walked into open water. Other anglers came to their rescue, pulling them out and helping them back to shore. The LeSueur County sheriff's dive team and Kasota rescue squad responded, but found the two warming themselves on shore. Sheriff David Glissinksi says the recent warm weather has created treacherous conditions on ice on area lakes.
Boy 13 plunges through ice, IN
December 16, 2002 - 7:26 am
Teen Rescued From Icy Pond
Marion Co., IN
A 13-year old Indianapolis teen is recovering Monday morning after falling through the ice in an area pond on the city's west side.Firefighters believe the teen was running after a football Sunday evening in the 700 block of Balroyal Drive. The football landed on ice in a pond. Unfortunately the teen discovered the ice on the pond was not very thick and fell in. He could not make it back to shore.With temperatures near freezing, every minute became more dangerous for the teen still stuck in the icy water. The Wayne Township Fire Department crew slipped into ice rescue suits and into the pond to rescue the teen. He was taken to Methodist Hospital and checked for hypothermia.Firefighters warn even testing the ice is not enough, so just stay off it completely.
Teenage boy hospitalized after falling through ice
December 16, 2002
A 13-year-old boy who fell through ice on a pond on the city's Westside was taken to Methodist Hospital on Sunday evening.
The youth was treated for hypothermia at the scene Sunday, and his injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, officials said. But no one at the hospital with information about his condition could be reached.
Firefighters say they think the teenager was trying to retrieve a football from an ice-covered pond in the Chapel Glen Estates housing addition when the ice broke and he fell in.
The boy flailed and dog-paddled in the icy water until rescue crews arrived and pulled him out, said Capt. Matt Stewart of the Wayne Township Fire Department tactical rescue team.
Firefighters were called after another child saw the incident from his home and told a parent, who called 911, Stewart said.
They got the call at about 5:03 p.m. and had pulled the teen from the water by 5:11 p.m., Stewart said.
People should not walk or skate on iced-over bodies of water, even if the ice seems thick, he said.
Man 58, survives icy plunge into lake, MI
December 15, 2002
Icy plunge into lake ends up a warm story
By BILL ECHLIN
Record-Eagle staff writer
FRANKFORT, MI- Bill Frary of Frankfort figures he was within minutes of dying in the freezing waters of Crystal Lake Wednesday when Jay Darling happened on the scene and, with the help of rescue experts, plucked him out.
"I had been in the water about 45 minutes and I was cold," Frary said. "When I got to the hospital my body temperature was down to 91."
Frary, 58 and a crane operator for Luedke Engineering Co., was fishing in his 10-foot pram when his lines got tangled. He was trying to get things in order when the boat flipped. Frary was able to grab a life vest and slip it on. But he was too far from shore to swim and no one had seen him go into the drink.
Darling, also a Frankfort resident and an American Airlines pilot, told Frary later he was driving by the Lobb Road boat launch where Frary put in his boat and thought something didn't look right. He had spotted Frary's mostly submerged boat but saw no one near it. He stopped to check more closely when a second man stopped and offered a pair of binoculars.
Frary said he couldn't see because his glasses were frosted up but he could hear the two talking and started yelling for help. They spotted him some ways from the boat.
Darling immediately called for help and headed to his nearby house to get his boat. When he got back, officers from the Benzie Sheriff's Department Marine Patrol and the Frankfort Fire Department were also arriving. Clad in recently purchased survival suits, rescuers climbed into Darling's boat and he took them out to Frary. They jumped into the water and boosted Frary into the boat.
"I told them I couldn't climb in, I was done, spent," Frary said. "But I think I should get something from the polar bear club for the longest swim," he added with a laugh.
After he was treated and released a couple hours later from Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital, Frary got to thank Darling.
"He said he was a real low-profile guy, and I said not any more - you're a hero, my guardian angel," Frary said.
Sheriff Robert Blank agrees and plans to honor Darling with a Citizens Award.
Drill shows ice hazards
Editorial comment: A typical ice rescue operation taking 45 - 60 minutes to execute can be reduced to 7 - 12 minutes through the use of an airboat.
Mock rescue shows ice hazards
By Peter Demarco, Globe Correspondent
State Trooper Richard White, wearing a wet suit, bobbed helplessly amid the ice shards of the Charles River yesterday. In a flash, a fan-propelled airboat - blowing a chilly mist in its wake - zoomed in, plucked him from the water, and returned him to shore.
The training exercise, held under sunny skies with temperatures near 50 degrees, hardly seemed challenging. But officials said that was one of the points they were trying to hammer home: Trained professionals with proper equipment can rescue a victim from the ice far more easily and safely than anyone else. ''If this was a real rescue, it would go this easy. We are trained to do this,'' said Trooper Blake Gilmore of the State Police Underwater Recovery Unit. ''We're reminding people who are not trained not to go on the ice. We're just going to end up with more people in the water that way.''
This story ran on page B3 of the Boston Globe on 12/20/2002.
Pronounced dead - Man returns to life
Man brought back to life after fall
Saturday, December 21, 2002
COURTNEY BRUMMER and JASON KUIPER
OMAHA, NE - A 40-year-old Omaha man was brought back to life and listed in critical condition at NHS University Hospital in Omaha after he fell from the Interstate 480 bridge into the Missouri River.
Council Bluffs police Sgt. Bob Brietzke said Omaha and Council Bluffs police were notified of a man who appeared to be ready to jump off of the bridge shortly before 10 p.m. So far, it has not been determined whether the man fell or jumped.
"Whoever called it in said there was a man on the side of the bridge. Omaha got there before we did," he said. "There's a pole on the other side of the bridge and he was hanging off of it. We're told he just let go, and didn't make a sound."
The man had been hanging from a light pole before he fell between 60 to 75 feet from the bride to the river, Lt. R.L. Miller said.
Missouri River water levels were low at the time and acting Assistant Fire Chief Dave Waugh said the water temperature was 41 degrees Fahrenheit
Omaha police dispatched their helicopter, Abel One, to aid in the search as officers and rescue workers searched the river waters for the man. He was found 20 to 30 minutes later about a half mile from the bridge, near the Harrah's Council Bluffs Casino & Hotel boat docks.
Council Bluffs Fire Department officials said they received the report of a man in the river at 10:11 p.m.
Harrah's employees, trained in water rescue, were able to quickly get a small boat in the water and pulled the man in and brought him to shore where rescue crews worked on him.
Initial reports indicated that the man was unresponsive when rescue workers and Harrah's personnel pulled him from the river, and he was pronounced dead at the shore. However, Brietzke said while in transport to NHS University Hospital, paramedics were able to resuscitate him.
"He was unresponsive," he said. "But when medics started working on him, they found a faint pulse and went from there."
The man, whose name has not yet been released, was brought to the hospital at about 10:50 p.m. Hospital staff were able to maintain the man's heart activity and worked on warming his blood.
"He's responsive," Brietzke said. "He's not awake. There is a heartbeat, but he's listed in critical. That's what we're being told."
In addition to the Council Bluffs Police and Fire departments and the Omaha Police Department, the Omaha Fire Department and Iowa State Patrol also assisted in the rescue.
Man jumps from bridge- search continues, NH
Search to continue
River Rescue workers search
Gregory D. Sofranko/The Valley Independent
By The Valley Independent
Saturday, December 21, 2002
River Rescue workers searched unsuccessfully Friday for a man who reportedly jumped from the Charleroi-Monessen Bridge, which spans the Monongahela River. Marcus V. Tyree, 22, of 545 Isabell Ave., North Charleroi, reportedly jumped from the bridge approximately 12:30 a.m. Friday. The incident reportedly was fueled by an argument between Tyree and his girlfriend. Fire personnel from Greensburg, New Eagle, Gallatin-Sunnyside, Donora, Charleroi, Webster, Washington Township, and both Monessen fire companies continued the search Friday north of the bridge. The search will continue Saturday, Lock Four Fire Chief Jim Yelanich reported.
Hovercraft capsizes in icy water
Good Samaritans Come to Rescue on Lincoln Lake
SPENCER TOWNSHIP, MN -- Two people were plucked from a lake in Spencer Township on Christmas after joyriding in a hovercraft.
Authorities say the pair was doing doughnuts on the ice at Lincoln Lake when the hovercraft rolled over.
Spencer Township is in northeast Kent County.
Witnesses saw the accident and rescued both of the hovercraft's passengers in another boat. Spencer Township Fire Chief Alan Wright says, "Citizens from the township, they grabbed a boat, rowed out, grabbed the two victims, brought them to the shore and they were treated for mild hypothermia in the ambulance."
The victims spent ten minutes in the icy water. They're expected to fully recover.
Rescue teams say they got lucky.
Two saved in Lincoln Lake rescue
(Spencer Township, December 25, 2002)
Some scary moments for a Spencer Township man and his nephew on Christmas day.
Their holiday came close to ending in tragedy on Lincoln Lake in Northeastern Kent County. But, they can thank two heroes for being alive.
The man and his nephew were out in their hover craft around 3:00 p.m. in Lincoln Lake. The boy fell out and the boat capsized. For almost ten minutes, they clung to the ice. Luckily, two neighbors saw what happened, ran outside, grabbed a paddleboat, and without lifejackets of their own, pulled them out of the icy water.
The identities of the two who fell in have not been released. They are expected to be okay.
4-wheeler plunges thru thin ice
By: Tom Powell
December 26, 2002
Balaton, MN - The water was bitterly cold, and time was running out. But thanks to the quick thinking of the Balaton Fire Department in Southwest Minnesota, two victims of an accident on Lake Yankton survived.
Firefighters say 38-year old John Van Overbeke, and 34-year old Craig Bakke were riding their four-wheeler when it fell through the ice. They were trapped in the water for more than a half hour before they were pulled out. Lake Yankton is a popular place for winter sports. The ice is just deep enough for fishing, but the two men found out how dangerous it can be.
The Balaton Fire Department has a lot of water rescue equipment, but it wasn't the boat that saved John Van Overbeke and Craig Bakke Sunday night. It was the person paddling inside, Jason Anderson. "They were shivering pretty bad. One seemed to be worse than the other," he says. Jason knew the rescue team had to work fast, and together.
"It's teamwork. It's not just one person,"says another firefighter. They've been through a water rescue before, but never like this. "Yeah as a matter of fact, two winters ago we rescued a family pet, a German Shepherd that had fallen through the ice in the same area," says Anderson.
Simba the dog was at the site when the rescue team went back Monday, and so was one of the victim's brothers - Randy Van Overbeke. Randy says his brother John and his friend Craig are avid outdoors men who made a mistake, one that could have killed them if it wasn't for the Balaton team. "He said he was close. He was just about ready to give it up," Randy tells the team. But no one gave up; not John, not Craig, and certainly not the rescue team. "Yeah, I bless them. They made my Christmas,"says Randy.
The team watched him load the four-wheeler Monday. It may have reached the end of it's road, but thanks to teamwork, the two men who were riding it have not.
Both Craig and John are family guys. Randy tells us Craig has a young girl and John has four young kids. Both families are glad dad will be home for Christmas.
Boy rescued from icy creek, PA
Hawley boy, 11, rescued from creek
BY SCOTT DEACLE / WAYNE COUNTY BUREAU CHIEF
-- Hawley firefighters say they rescued an 11-year-old boy stranded in Middle Creek on Christmas.
HAWLEY, PA - Hawley Fire Chief Eugene E. Krause said Bradley Orazzi, a River Street resident, told him he slipped and fell in the creek as he tried to retrieve his snowboard, which had fallen in.
The boy couldn't be reached for comment Friday.
The fire department got the call about Bradley at 11:44 a.m. and found the boy standing waist-deep in the water, unable to move, Chief Krause said. "He said his legs were so cold, he couldn't walk anymore."
Bradley stood in a part of Middle Creek partly enclosed by a concrete flood-control channel. A fence separated the boy from firefighters.
Firefighters lowered two ropes to the boy, one with a life jacket, Chief Krause said. They told Bradley to put on the life jacket and tie the other rope around his waist. Firefighter Vince Mauslof then entered the water downstream, just below the end of the fence, Chief Krause said. With a rope held by other firefighters, Mr. Mauslof walked about 40 feet upstream to pull the boy to waiting firefighters.
Bradley was out of the water 11 minutes after the fire department was dispatched, Chief Krause said. He was treated for hypothermia at Wayne Memorial Hospital and released that evening, the chief said.
Firefighters used a life jacket and ropes they bought after they had to make a similar rescue earlier this year, Chief Krause said. The department helped three girls out of the water in June.