1. #76
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    Default Simulating danger

    http://www.winonadailynews.com.com

    Simulating danger

    By Brian Krans
    Winona Daily News

    Members of the Winona County Sheriff's Dive/Rescue Team simulated a power parachute crash rescue mission Saturday on an island near the spillway on the Mississippi River.

    Team members were not given any advance notice of what to expect at the scene ó each of the monthly training scenarios are different.

    When they arrived at the boat landing, members used global positioning systems to lock in where the victims were.

    "Just this fall we did some training with GPS, and it worked really well," said team member Gary Eddy.

    The team headed out onto the ice with a Jon boat and Zodiac inflatable boat with transportation, rescue and medical gear.

    Josephine Dobson was one of the first people to reach the victim. Dobson wore a bright yellow "Mustang suit" ó a fully floatable suit ó when she checked the stability of the ice. When she gave the OK, the rest of the team moved onto the ice.

    There were two mock victims, including one who was unconscious, bleeding through the leg and had a severed arm. Although there were no real injuries, the team treated the situation as if there were. One member gathered ice chunks in a plastic bag to transport the stick serving as the severed arm.

    Another victim waited under the ice until divers could brave the 34-degree water and pull them out. Diver Judd Stanislawski wore a diving suit that kept him warm, but his neoprene mask didn't cover his entire face.

    "It gets cold," Stanislawski said. "It almost feels like a knife shooting through the top of your head."

    The victim, affectionately named "Homer," was a smiley face drawn on a half-gallon milk jug in a mesh bag and weighted down with a boat anchor.

    Stanislawski scooted over to a hole in the ice and brought Homer out within seconds. Team members kept Stanislawski from being lost under the ice by holding onto a rope attached to his waist.

    "We never send anyone, under any circumstances, under the ice without a rope," team leader Russell Marsolek said.

    Team members are involved on a volunteer basis, exactly like local volunteer fire departments. Members' occupations range from maintenance employees to doctors. Dobson, a realtor, said she became interested after taking a diving course, and she started more training.

    "I wanted to do something for the community," she said.

    Although the monthly training sessions are simulated, the "real thing" is a bit more hair-raising for the team.

    "Your adrenaline's pumping," Stanislawski said. "It's scary in the sense of the unknown."
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default 10 missing when plane crashes into lake

    Sunday, January 18, 2004

    Ten missing in plane crash
    Rescuers search Lake Erie for signs of passengers

    By CP

    WINDSOR, Ont. -- A single-engine aircraft carrying as many as 10 people crashed into the ice on Lake Erie last night shortly after it took off from Pelee Island.

    "It doesn't appear there have been any survivors," said Paul Mulrooney, president of Georgian Express, the airline that operated the routine winter flight between Windsor and the island.

    The wreck of the plane was found nose-down in the water soon after the crash and search and rescue officials swung quickly into gear.

    Two U.S. Coast Guard helicopters from Detroit used spotlights and radar to search a wide area just west of the island, which lies near the U.S.-Canadian border in the middle of Lake Erie.

    "From what we understand there is a pretty extensive debris field," said Sgt. John Leclerc, from the Canadian search and rescue co-ordination centre at Canadian Forces Base Trenton.

    A Canadian Coast Guard ship and a U.S. Coast Guard cutter, which had both been on duty breaking ice a few hours away, were expected to arrive at the crash site last night to aid in the search from the water.

    "We really don't expect to get some really concrete news certainly until at least daybreak, until we get some daylight in there and have the vessels in there," said Leclerc.

    There were conflicting reports about the number of passengers on board.

    Although airplane manifests listed nine -- eight passengers and a pilot -- Mulrooney said an additional passenger may have slipped onto the plane at the last minute.

    Officials didn't expect to know for sure until coast guard vessels could get close enough to the plane to look inside.

    Low cloud cover, snow and freezing rain hampered the search efforts last night.

    The helicopter that spotted the wreckage at around 7 p.m. had to dip down to just 15 metres above the icy water in order to see under the clouds.

    Two rescue helicopters dispatched from CFB Trenton were unable to reach the site due to heavy snowfall.

    The cause of the crash was not immediately known and Mulrooney said the Toronto-based pilot was an experienced flyer who had travelled the route many times.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Man Falls Through Ice to His Death

    http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/news/pri...icedanger.html

    Man Falls Through Ice to His Death

    By Jeff Rossen
    Prospect Park-WABC
    January 18, 2004

    Even with the frigid temperatures we've had recently, there are still dangers on the ice on ponds and rivers. One man in Brooklyn's Prospect Park apparently ignored the warnings by the parks department -- walking out onto the ice and falling in the frigid waters.
    Eliza Beckwith, Eyewitness: "He was in the middle of the lake...walking down right in the middle of the lake. And then we saw him go in."

    Eliza Beckwith was walking her dog. She looked over and saw the man fighting to escape from under the ice.

    Eliza Beckwith, Eyewitness: "He gets out...he's walking again. He seems to be ok. And then he walked and went back down."

    Several people in Prospect Park witnessed the man walking up to the edge of the open water and falling in twice. One dog walker walked out onto the ice to try to rescue him, but couldn't.

    Parkgoers mentioned that there are signs everywhere warning people to stay off the ice.

    It's true. But, who's to stop a motivated risk-taker.

    Rep. Anthony Weiner, New York (D): "Growing up you would always try to tip-toe out onto the ice. You almost always got a sense pretty quickly that it wasn't going to hold you for very long."

    In this case, the man is still in the lake and presumed dead. Police don't know why he walked out there. They don't even know his identity.

    Eliza Beckwith, Eyewitness: "Don't walk on the ice at all, especially when it's thawing."

    Divers spent hours in the lake today searching for the man's body. They couldn't find him. Those divers will return on Monday.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Search Is Called Off for Man Who Fell Through Ice

    January 19, 2004

    Search Is Called Off for Man Who Fell Through Ice in Park

    By ROBERT F. WORTH

    A man fell through the ice in Prospect Park Lake in Brooklyn yesterday morning, triggering an unsuccessful two-hour search for his body in the frigid water by three police teams and Fire Department scuba divers, the authorities said.

    The man, whose identity remains unknown, was walking alone on the western part of the lake about 9 a.m. when several witnesses saw him fall through, said Joseph Woznica, deputy chief of the Fire Department, at a lakeside news conference.

    The witnesses heard a shout for help from the man, who was wearing brown clothes and appeared to be in his 20's, Chief Woznica said. The man pulled himself out of the water and stood for a moment before falling through the ice again, said one police officer. He bobbed up, yelling for help a second time, and then disappeared under the ice, the officer said.

    One of the witnesses went on the ice to try to rescue the man, but fell through himself, said Liam Kavanagh, a deputy commissioner of the Parks Department. The would-be rescuer pulled himself free and returned to shore.

    Shortly afterward, a helicopter arrived carrying divers with the Police Department's Air-Sea Rescue unit. An emergency operation was set up at the lake's southern end, near the Grecian Shelter, Chief Woznica said. They were soon joined by other diving teams from the Police and Fire Departments.

    "Conditions were extremely difficult due to the large ice pack and the cold temperatures," Chief Woznica said. The ice was a foot thick in spots, but open water with ducks and geese on it was visible in the middle.

    In such cold water, a man trapped under the ice could survive for an hour and a half at the most, Chief Woznica said.

    The two-man diving teams, wearing insulated dry suits, took turns searching the lake from a site just beyond three small islands about 40 yards from the lake's southern shore. In less than an hour, dozens of officials from the Police, Fire and Parks Departments arrived to help.

    The lake is about six feet deep in the area where the man disappeared, and visibility in the water was close to zero, said Capt. Thomas Dougherty of the Police Department's Emergency Service Unit. The divers relied mostly on their hands to conduct the search, dividing the lake's southern side into grids using ropes and buoys, Captain Dougherty said. The divers themselves were connected to ropes, he said, and if they had tugged to signal trouble, officers on shore could have pulled them to safety.

    After searching for almost two hours with no success, the divers walked back to shore, and fire and police officials ended the rescue effort. An effort to recover the man's body is expected to begin this morning, Chief Woznica said.

    Despite the recent cold weather, almost all the city's 32 ponds and lakes remain dangerous, said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. There are 86 signs on Prospect Park Lake warning passers-by not to go onto the ice, and red wooden ice rescue ladders can be found at 20 locations around the lake, Mr. Benepe added.

    A man fell through the ice last winter in Prospect Park Lake but was rescued by a Parks Department official who happened to be nearby, Mr. Benepe said.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Snowmobile breaks through thin ice

    January 19, 2004

    Snowmobile breaks through thin ice on Oakland pond

    By DAVID LEAMING
    Staff Writer

    OAKLAND -- An Albion man shivered a short time after the snowmobile he was riding crashed through thin ice on Snow Pond on Sunday.

    Cold, wet and a bit shaken, John Henderson recounted the unexpected dip into the frigid water that happened after he and his son, Mike, rode onto the snow-covered pond for a leisurely ride that could have been deadly.

    "I feel real lucky," Henderson said while sitting inside a warm truck in the parking lot at the boat launch off Belgrade Avenue.

    Henderson said he rode his 1990 Ski-doo snowmobile just ahead of his son onto the lake. He said the helmet shield over his face began to fog up, and as he lifted the shield the snowmobile began to slow about 50 feet from shore. Before he could do anything, the snowmobile broke through the ice, immediately sinking and leaving Henderson floating in icy water up to his throat. Henderson clutched at the solid ice around the hole, where the water was about 7 feet deep.

    "I didn't touch the bottom," Henderson said. "In less than a minute, my body was numb."

    Henderson said later he was confident there was enough ice on the lake because he was following a track made by another snowmobile. "I couldn't see the ice. I was on snow."

    He said the ice was only about 2 inches thick where the snowmobile went through. A week earlier, open water was visible between the dam and the boat launch.

    Henderson said he was lucky that his son and two men were nearby to help him get out of the water.

    "I told Mike to get a tie-down strap from his snowmobile and throw it to me and hang on," Henderson said. While he held onto the strap his son threw, the two men ran over with a long pole saw and helped pull him from the water.

    Mike Henderson stood outside the truck and looked at his father.

    "I was scared," the son said.

    After Oakland police and rescue crews left the scene and John Henderson got into drier clothing, he and his son considered the problem of how to get the snowmobile from the water.

    When game wardens arrived to investigate the accident, Henderson learned about a diver who specializes in underwater recovery of vehicles. Henderson did not know whether the snowmobile will be pulled from the water or lifted with airbags. He said removing it could cost $400.

    Game Warden Dan Murray said ice fishermen and others who venture onto frozen Maine lakes and ponds should know the conditions of the ice beforehand. Local knowledge of ice and terrain is important and can prevent accidents, Murray said.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Men thankful after rescue from ice

    http://www.brainerddispatch.com/stor...19040016.shtml

    Monday, January 19, 2004

    Men thankful after rescue from ice

    By JENNIFER STOCKINGER
    Staff Writer

    It was an experience they never want to have again.

    Donald Fleischman, 67, rural Brainerd, and Ivan Kiser, 49, Pequot Lakes, were happy to be alive Sunday after the truck they were in was submerged under water on Gull Lake near Rocky Point Road around 10:22 a.m.

    Fleischman said today in a telephone interview that he wanted to show Kiser where the 14th annual Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza was located. He picked Kiser up in the 2004 Ford pickup he had just purchased. He said he thought the ice was safe and he did have the truck out on the ice Friday.

    "It happened so fast," Fleischman said. "You don't have time to think. We got out of it and we're alive to talk about it."

    Fleischman said with the below zero temperatures and wind chills Sunday they did not have their windows down while on the ice. He said they drove a couple of yards near an ice ridge when the truck broke through the ice.

    Kiser was able to get out of the truck through the window before he was submerged, but Fleischman said he did not get out until he was submerged. He said he looked up, saw the opening and swam up to the hole after swallowing water. He said he saw Kiser grab for him and he held onto his hand tightly.

    Fleischman said he has a bad back and Kiser helped him as they crawled to shore. They broke into an unoccupied cabin and called for help on Fleischman's cell phone.

    "I was surprised it worked," Fleischman said. "It (the phone) was submerged in water."

    The Lake Shore and Nisswa police departments and North Ambulance responded. Fleischman and Kiser were taken to St. Joseph's Medical Center where they were treated and released. Fleischman said his body temperature at the hospital was 92 degrees.

    "I could feel my body, but I was bleeding," he said. "I cut my hands, fingers and I had a gash on my forehead. I am stiff today but I can walk. Ivan was OK and was told to take Tylenol.

    "I thank the good Lord. We are fortunate to be alive. We were at the wrong place at the wrong time."

    Fleischman said he plans to be more careful when he drives on ice. He said he now knows that there is no such thing as safe ice.

    Lake Shore acting police chief Steve Sundstrom said Monday that people need to know the lake before they drive on it. He said one day the ice could be safe and the next day it might not be safe.

    "They are very lucky to be alive," said Sundstrom. "They were very wet and cold. When I went out there it must have been about 40 below (with wind chills). They are lucky they got into a house and called for help."

    Sundstrom said people have to be extremely careful when on the ice and there are ice ridges. He said people need to avoid these areas because they are not safe.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Firefighters practice ice rescue tactics

    Firefighters practice ice rescue tactics

    By LISA BACKUS,Correspondent
    01/19/2004

    FARMINGTON - The wind is blowing and the snow is swirling through the trees. The lake at Winding Trails is a winter wonderland, completely frozen over allowing skaters and ice fishers opportunity to practice their chosen sport.

    But, as firefighters learned Sunday morning, such a scene can quickly turn deadly if someone falls through the ice on a frigid afternoon.

    "When you are wet and itís cold, you lose heat five times faster," said firefighter Todd Litchfield. "You obviously want to get to them as soon as possible, and you want to do it without falling in yourself."

    Victims fall through the ice most often in early and late winter when the ice is not completely frozen or appears frozen but is actually thawing, fire officials said. Therefore, Tunxis Hose firefighters braved the elements Sunday morning to practice using ice rescue equipment.

    Despite a steady snowfall and cold weather, the fire company took turns as "victims" and "rescuers" to make sure they will be prepared in case they must answer a call to help someone who has fallen through the ice.

    In order to accomplish the feat, Litchfield and other firefighters had to use a chainsaw to cut a wide hole in the ice on Saturday. By Sunday morning, the fire company was ready to respond to the scene as if an accident occurred.

    One by one, firefighters donned specially designed ice rescue suits that retain warmth and repel cold water. In about 10 feet of water firefighters willingly crawled into huge black holes and feigned helplessness, awaiting rescue.

    Three Farmington fire stations have ice rescue sleds designed to allow rescuers to travel onto the water and retrieve victims.The sleds were purchased using a state grant and private donations. Each sled has pontoons that float in water and can be walked across a frozen lake.

    "They can walk the sled out with a rope attached to them and put the sled right into the water to pull the victim on board," said Brian Hunter, assistant fire chief. "They strap the victim in and then give a signal for the rest of the firefighters to pull them back."

    The sledís design allows firefighters to use an oar affixed with an ice pick to pull up onto the ice and drop back into the water. The sleds are a better option than the previous method, jumping into the hole and tying a rope around victimsí waists.

    "The sled offers less trauma to the body that is being pulled out," Litchfield said. "There is a stage of hypothermia where even a small bump can send someone into shock and if you have to drag them back on the ice, a lot of times you are cutting a path through the ice as you go."

    Tunxis Hose has owned the sled for about two years, but has never had to use it in an emergency. Nevertheless, the department refreshes its techniques every year and trains new members with the permission of Winding Trails Recreation Center, off Route 4.

    Although he said his department is prepared, Litchfield said that residents should use a buddy system when on frozen lakes. But if residents plan on being out alone on a frozen lake skating or ice fishing, they should tell someone how long they plan to spend on the ice, he said.

    "Always make sure the ice is of a good thickness, at least four inches deep," Hunter said. "And if one person falls in, the other should not follow them in but go get help immediately."
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Ice rescues could come with bill

    http://www.thetimesherald.com/news/s...ws/254537.html

    Ice rescues could come with bill
    County official says action puts officers at risk, strain on budget

    By CHRIS SEBASTIAN
    Times Herald

    January 19, 2004

    Hundreds of ice fishermen and snowmobilers visit frozen Anchor Bay each winter.

    If any of them were to fall through the ice and need rescuing, they would have to pay up if St. Clair County Commissioner Thomas Reilly has his way.

    Reilly, R-Port Huron Township, said he will ask the county board this week to consider charging a fee for the St. Clair County Sheriff Department Marine Division to rescue snowmobilers and fishermen on the ice.

    The board will discuss the issue, and how much to charge, at its meeting Wednesday.

    "I think we should be recouped for our costs out there," Reilly said.

    The reasons are twofold, Reilly said, the first being financial. Because of budget cuts from the state, the county is doing what it can to shave costs and increase revenue.

    The second reason, he said, is that ice rescues put the marine division at risk, above the normal call of duty. Other situations, such as automobile collisions and house fires, are accidental, he said.

    "This isn't accidental; these people are going out there knowing there's a potential problem," Reilly said.

    The Michigan Department of Natural Resources boat launch in Ira Township was crowded Friday afternoon with fishermen, and several people said they agreed with the charge.

    "There's people that go out there when they shouldn't," said Bernard Beier, 50, of China Township.

    Gary Nader, 46, fell through the ice with his two sons in February. He was helped by the Ira Township Fire Department and was charged the department's standard $570 rescue fee.

    Nader of Clay Township said he has mixed feelings about the county charging.

    "For repeat offenders, no question about it," he said.

    But he said ice rescues should not be any different from other emergency situations.

    "I thought it was part of their job," he said.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Fishermen May Pay for Ice Rescues

    http://www.wxyz.com/wxyz/nw_local_ne...590905,00.html

    St. Clair County Politician Proposes Fishermen Pay for Ice Rescues

    By Anu Prakash

    January 20, 2004

    A St. Clair County politician is pushing to make fishermen pay cold cash if they fall through the ice or are stranded on ice floes.

    Every winter around the Detroit area there are those who venture out on the ice for fun. Some make it home without any
    problem, but others fall through on thin ice or get caught on ice floes and have to be rescued. If St. Clair County Commissioner Thomas Reilly has his way, those who are pulled from the ice will have to pay up for the services.

    "Going on the ice when it's thin, when you have been told it's thin, and driving cars on there when you know it's thin,
    that is not accidental," Reilly argued Tuesday.

    The commissioner planned to ask the St. Clair County board Wednesday night to consider charging for rescue efforts,
    allowing the person who is being saved to foot the bill.

    Some of the men and women responsible for rescuing people from the ice agree with the proposal.

    "I feel probably the community will go along with this because it's costing us a lot of money out of our budgets for this. I don't like the safety issue of it for our people going out doing these rescues, because they can fall in and we can lose one of them as well," Lt. William Krul of the St. Clair County Marine Division told Action News Tuesday.

    "Because of all the problems we're having with revenue sharing being cut to the county, it would certainly help our budget to recoop some of the costs it takes to have the dive team and marine deputies respond, and (to cover) any equipment that is used in the process of the rescue," Lt. Krul added.

    In Ira Township, where workers rescued several fishermen from ice floes on January 13, the fire department charges anyone it rescues a $570 fee.

    At least one Anchor Bay ice fisherman was not sure how he felt about the possibility of the county charging a fee, as well.

    "If you get rescued more than once, you deserve it," A.J. Jenks told Action News, "but I hope Iím not the one being rescued."

    A St. Clair County Commission meeting to discuss the issue is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday at 200 Grand River Ave. in Port Huron. The public is welcome.

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    Default Lake search called off

    Lake search called off

    January 19, 2004

    ASHLAND, Wis. -- Strong winds over the weekend forced searchers off the Chequamegon Bay in Lake Superior, where they are attempting to recover the body of a snowmobiler.

    Tracy Schroeder, 44, of Ashland has been missing since about 2 a.m. on Thursday, when a man who was plowing snow called 911 after seeing a light disappear on the lake near the breakwater.

    A helmet, glove and boot were found initially, suggesting Schroeder removed the clothing while trying to get back onto the ice. The snowmobile was located Friday.

    Schroeder lived near the lake.

    Snowmobile tracks led to a large area of open water just a few hundred yards from the Bretting manufacturing plant, on the east end of the city.

    "It's day to day," Ashland Fire Department Capt. Scott Thimm told The Associated Press. "We're looking at some cold weather coming up, which would actually be good for us."

    Schroeder was first reported missing Thursday morning by some friends who were with him earlier in the evening.

    Divers want the area to freeze over so they can submerge video cameras to look for Schroeder, but the Saturday winds caused a chop on floating ice.

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    Default Teen Falls Through Ice, Feared Dead

    http://www.nbc10.com/print/2780312/d...html?use=print

    Teen Falls Through Ice, Feared Dead
    Authorities Suspend Search For Missing Teen

    January 21, 2004

    VENTNOR, N.J. -- A 17-year-old boy was missing and feared dead late Tuesday after falling through ice on a section of the intracoastal waterway, officials said.

    Bruce Paige, 17, had apparently gone onto the ice to retrieve a cellular telephone that had fallen from a bridge two days earlier.

    A bridge attendant who tried to shoo the boy and two others from the ice had retreated to his post to call police when there was a knock at the door from a bystander who told him that one of the three had fallen in, according to Michael Schurman, deputy emergency management coordinator for Atlantic County.

    A Ventnor police patrol unit that arrived at the scene saw the boy partially submerged, Schurman said. The officer returned to his car parked on the bridge to get a rescue buoy, but by the time he got back the boy had gone under. The two others got safely to ground on their own.

    Twenty-nine divers from Brigantine, Ventnor and the state police spent seven hours searching the 13- to 15-foot tidal waters to no avail.

    Divers went one-by-one under the water, using a buddy system for their safety, searching the bay bottom with their hands and grappling hooks, Schurman said at the scene.

    Fire and rescue units from 15 towns in and around Atlantic City assisted in the effort, battling 19-degree cold. The water temperature was 35 degrees with a 2.5-3 mph current.

    Rescuers also used inflatable dinghies as they searched beneath the Dorset Avenue Bridge.

    The incident occurred less than a half-mile from the Ventnor beachfront at 4:55 p.m.

    At midnight, searchers suspended their search for the missing teen. They will resume again Wednesday morning.

    "It's a tragedy," said Mayor Timothy Kreischer, who met with Paige's family Tuesday night.

    "They've exhausted the search. They're giving up for the night," Schurman said at midnight Tuesday. "They'll be back here at the break of dawn."
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Student feared lost in Ventnor ice

    http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/n...04ICEFALL.html

    January 21, 2004

    ACHS student feared lost in Ventnor ice

    By PAT ARNEY
    Staff Writer

    VENTNOR, NJ - Dive teams and rescue workers were searching Tuesday night for a 17-year-old who fell through the ice near the Dorset Avenue Bridge shortly before 5 p.m., officials said.

    As of about 11 p.m., there was no indication the youth had been found.

    Atlantic County Deputy Emergency Management Co-ordinator Mike Schurman reported at about 9:15 p.m. that the search was continuing, as did Mayor Timothy Kreischer, who said he had been at the scene since about 5:15 p.m.

    Several Atlantic City High School teens, interviewed by a Press of Atlantic City reporter at the scene, said they were with the youth when he fell through. They said he is ACHS senior Bruce Paige, who lives in Atlantic City.

    Schurman and Kreischer said they could not confirm the youth's identity.

    Dorset Avenue and the bridge, which crosses the Inside Thorofare, were choked with rescue, police and fire vehicles. A police line was set up on both sides of the bridge, which links the city to its Ventnor Heights section.

    The incident began around 4:54 p.m., according to Schurman, when the bridge tender told three youths to get off the ice.

    The bridge tender then went into the bridgekeeper's booth on the bridge and called police, Schurman said. While he was on the phone, a woman knocked on the booth's door, saying there was trouble.

    When the bridge tender walked out of the booth to take a look, one of the youths fell through the ice, Schurman said.

    A Ventnor patrol car was driving across the bridge and saw a female screaming for help, Schurman said. The patrolman got out of the vehicle, went to the side of the bridge and saw the youth floundering in the water.

    The officer rushed to his vehicle to get a rescue buoy to throw to the youth, Schurman said. By the time he returned, the youth already had submerged.

    Rescue units were summoned to the scene. Two Ventnor engine companies, one truck company and the Ventnor Dive Team rushed to the site, Schurman said.

    Five Ventnor divers conducted a hand-over-hand search of the bottom of the waterway, which is 13- to 15-feet deep, Schurman said. They searched from the bridge to 12 feet out and under the bridge.

    Divers were in the water from a half-hour to 45 minutes each, Schiurman said. Rescue workers then began searching the bottom with grappling hooks.

    Aid from fire companies and dive teams in surrounding municipalities was called in to help, Schurman said. Brigantine responded with 12 divers, State Police with nine. By that time, Ventnor had nine on the scene.

    "They are continuing to dive and search," Schurman said as of about 9:15 p.m.

    He said the youths were on the ice searching for a cell phone that fallen onto the ice.

    ACHS freshman Sean Paisley said he and fellow freshman Mark Boothby, of Margate, were crossing the bridge with Paige, Erin McGonigle, and one other girl and boy from school when the accident happened.

    Paisley said the group was headed from Paisley's house in Ventnor to visit a friend in Ventnor Heights.

    Paisley said Paige was playing with Paisley's cell phone, tossing it up into the air and catching it, but he dropped the phone and it fell to the ice below.

    "I said, 'Don't worry about it,'" Paisley said. "But he felt bad, so he went to get it."

    The four boys went on the ice, Boothby said. The girls remained on the bridge.

    When Paige got close to the phone with a stick, according to Paisley and Boothby, the ice began to crack.

    "We said, 'Come back' and he said, 'No, I'm going to get it," the boys said.

    McGonigle, of Ventnor, said she and a schoolmate were on top of the bridge, telling Paige, "'Please, Bruce, turn around.'"

    Paige fell through the ice. He swam around for about seven minutes, Paisley said.

    "Last thing I heard him say," McGonigle said, "was 'Help me, I'm going to die.'"

    Paisley said he and the other boys tried to get a rope from a kayak to throw to Paige, but they couldn't cut the rope.

    Paisley said he then ran back to see if he could tie jackets together to throw to Paige and that was when he went under.

    "I haven't seen him since," he said.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Divers recover body of teen

    Divers recover body of teen who fell through ice

    By JOHN CURRAN
    Associated Press Writer

    January 21, 2004

    VENTNOR, N.J. -- Bruce Paige was just trying to help. But he died trying.

    Attempting to retrieve a friend's cell phone from an iced-over canal, the 17-year-old high school student apparently drowned after plunging through the crust of the Intracoastal Waterway.

    Divers recovered his body Wednesday.

    "For him to try to retrieve that cell phone, it's just something Bruce would have done," said his mother, Jill Jones, 36, of Atlantic City.

    Paige was an Atlantic City School senior who loved skateboarding and aspired to a career in the U.S. Navy. He was with three friends Tuesday when he volunteered to venture out onto the ice under the Dorset Avenue bridge to return the phone to friend Shaun Paisley, 16.

    It had been dropped there two days before, and Paige thought the ice _ which ranged from 1 inch to 6 inches thick _ would hold.

    "I was saying `Go back, go back,"' friend Erin McGonigle, 17, recalled. "He was saying `I can do it,"' she told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    A bridge attendant who tried to shoo the teens from the ice had retreated to his post to call police when a bystander told him Paige had fallen in.

    His body partially submerged in the 35-degree water, Paige called out for help as a police officer who had arrived at the scene ran back to his vehicle to get a rescue buoy.

    "God help me, I'm going to die," he called out. Then he disappeared into the water.

    Twenty-nine divers from Brigantine, Ventnor and the New Jersey State Police spent seven hours Tuesday searching the 15-foot tidal waters, hoping against hope that they could recover the body within an hour, when resuscitation might have been possible.

    Hampered by debris on the bay bottom, they searched by hand and grappling hook before finding the body about 10:40 a.m. Wednesday, less than 20 feet from where Paige disappeared, according to Deputy Fire Chief Bert Sabo.

    The cell phone, which was still on the ice, was recovered.

    Paige's mother and other family members were standing on the bridge and threw flowers into the water after his body was pulled out. Then they drove south to Shore Memorial Hospital in Somers Point, where the body was taken, so Jones _ a school crossing guard _ could say goodbye.

    "Bruce was a beautiful kid, my only child," she said after viewing the body. "He was just a jolly kid, and he was always helping somebody.

    "I don't regret anything that happened and I don't fault any of the children that were with him," said Jones.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Man clearing ice for skaters falls into pond

    http://www.jsonline.com/news/ozwash/jan04/201575.asp

    Man clearing ice for skaters falls into pond

    Worker OK; $70,000 vehicle may be total loss

    By DAN BENSON
    Jan. 21, 2004

    Mequon - A city worker escaped injury Wednesday when the snow removal equipment he was operating fell through the ice on a pond at Rotary Park on Highland Road, taking him with it.

    The worker was never seriously in danger and was able to escape from the vehicle by opening the driver-side door. He was helped out of the pond by another city Public Works Department worker who was nearby as a safety precaution, Public Works Director Jon Garms said.

    The $70,000 vehicle wasn't so lucky, however, and had to be winched out of the pond by a city snow plow with assistance from the Mequon Fire Department dive team.

    The man who went through the ice was taken by city rescue personnel to Columbia St. Mary's, Ozaukee Campus, where he was found to have suffered no ill effects and was sent home, Garms said.

    "He was wet through, but he wasn't in the water that long," Garms said. "The safety person was right there with a rope and fished him out. He put him in a pickup truck until the rescue squad arrived."

    Garms said the city had received a number of calls from residents before Wednesday wondering whether the pond's ice was safe for skating and when the snow would be removed.

    Garms said city workers had been checking the thickness of the ice for several days beforehand and found it to be at least 8 inches thick everywhere they examined it.

    "We had better than 8 inches in any of the holes we tested," he said. "This may cause us to rethink how many holes we test."

    The four-wheel front-end loader, equipped with a plow, will be checked in the next few days. The vehicle may be a total loss, Garms said.

    "We have to wait for it to dry out. It was pretty banged up," he said.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Cell Phone Call Led to a Rescue "Miracle"

    http://www.wbay.com/global/story.asp...Type=Printable


    Two-Minute Cell Phone Call Led to a Rescue "Miracle"

    By Sarah Thomsen
    January 23, 2004

    Bay of Green Bay, WI -- A very short cell phone call from Richard Olszewski eventually led rescuers to the stranded snowmobilers on the bay of Green Bay. Dispatchers had a two-minute phone call, no exact location, and 186 square miles of the bay to search.

    Action 2 News received a copy of that original 911 call. Rescuers say finding the two alive in Wednesday night's weather conditions is nothing short of a miracle.

    Olszewski's call for help came in at 9:53 p.m.

    "My snowmobile went under the water. My girlfriend's on ice. Can you hear me?"

    "Where are you, sir?" the dispatcher asked.

    "I don't know. I think I'm on the bay."

    Olszewski described the only thing he could see. "I see green lights to the left of me. There's a big green light to the left of me."

    The dispatchers kept him on the line as long as they could.

    "Sir, what is your name. Where are you? Are you in Green Bay? Hello?" and then the dispatcher is heard saying, "I can't hear him."

    Olszewski dropped the phone into the water, cutting off all communications.

    Dispatchers began tracing the phone number which led back to Chicago to one of Olszewski's business partners.

    "They said, 'Oh yes, they were on vacation and they were up there doing this,' and they knew where [the snowmobilers] were staying," Jim Nickel, the communications center director, said.

    Dispatchers called the hotel and learned of the couple's plans to go snowmobile on the bay in the midst of whiteout conditions.

    "What happened instead was they missed that turn because of the weather," Nickel said, "and they went down over into the open channel."

    With a more precise location, authorities called the U.S. Coast Goard for the coordinates of the flashing lights Olszewski described.

    "It was like a tornado in here trying to get all this information together to send the helicopter in a general direction," Nickel said.

    With all those phone calls, it took Eagle III less than 25 minutes to narrow its search from 186 miles to only ten.

    "We do have that party located," the Eagle III rescue helicopter crew reported.

    Rescuers found Beth Casas on Grassy Island and brought her to safety. Almost an hour later they found Olszewski.

    "Brown County, he's in the water, in the water, and I don't believe we're going to be able to pull him out," the Eagle III crew said.

    It was touch and go for a while.

    "Brown County," Eagle III reported later, "the party is on-board and we're heading back to Green Bay."

    "I'll tell you, there was a cheer in here when they heard they got him," Nickel said.

    The snowmobilers were treated for hypothermia and released from the hospital Thursday afternoon.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Rescuers overcame challenge of wind, winter weather

    Rescuers overcame challenge of wind, winter weather

    By Andy Nelesen
    January 23, 2004

    This news article is too long to post and is complete with 9-1-1 transcript.
    Go to the following url to read the article.

    http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/...14308732.shtml
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Fire department practices ice rescue techniques

    Local fire department practices ice rescue techniques

    By:Jay Nowakowski,Correspondent
    01/22/2004

    FARMINGTON - The Tunxis Hose Fire Department, located in the Unionville section of Farmington, was out on the ice and literally in the frozen waters of Winding Trails' Deming Pond on Sunday morning. They had come the day before to chain saw a large square area through the 10-inch thick ice. They were practicing ice rescue techniques in order to be ready if a real rescue call is received.

    "We do medical drills about once a month and ice rescue drills a couple of times a year," said Gloria Tessman, the captain of Medical Rescue for the department.

    About 30 firefighters participated in the mock drill, which was held in the midst of an early morning snowstorm. "We consider a place like this to be one of the hot spots in the winter time," said Tessman, as she looked out on the many ice fishermen on the lake. "We are more likely to have an incident here in the wintertime because this area is really becoming more built up and more people are using it."

    The Tunxis Hose is one of three fire departments in town to have recently purchased an ice rescue sled using federal funds.

    The sled, which costs about $3,500, enables rescuers to paddle their way out to a victim using an ice pick and a paddle. The ice sled, tethered to an onshore line, has pontoons that enable it to float once it gets to open water where a victim has fallen through. The sled is then maneuvered over the victim so that the rescuer can hoist him aboard.

    "The old method of rescue was to have the rescuer crawl out to the victim using a ladder that the victim would grab onto. This presented more risk to the rescuer," said Tessman. "The ice sled reduces that risk."

    One by one, the firefighters took turns as either the victim or the rescuer. They donned wet suits as protection against the frigid waters of the lake. "We want to give everyone a chance to get used to the suits and the sled in case there is an actual need for them," said Todd Litchfield, a firefighter and head of public relations for the Department.

    "These suits are actually quite warm," said firefighter Lou Benson. "I was in one for about an hour and a half the last time we did this and if you start thrashing around you start to get hot."

    Early and late in the season or during mid-winter thaws present the highest risk of falling through the ice.

    "In this kind of water a person has about 20 minutes before they become hypothermic," said Tessman. "The body starts to shiver uncontrollably as it tries to maintain its temperature and then slowly, the person loses feeling and bodily functions. They lose consciousness and then they die."

    If a person does fall through the ice and is with someone that person should immediately call for help. They should stay clear of the hole so they do not become victims themselves. They might be able to help the person with a branch or pole, but the person in the ice should stay above water and not try to climb out if the ice is too thin. It will only result in breaking through and falling back in. This could lead to exhaustion and drowning more quickly.

    "It's not good if the person trying to help falls in - then they become a victim themselves," said Tessman.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Vehicle Of Missing Fisherman Found In Lake

    http://www.theiowachannel.com/print/...html?use=print

    TheIowaChannel.com

    Vehicle Of Missing Fisherman Found In Lake
    Northern Iowa Man Missing Since Saturday

    January 23, 2004

    VENTURA, Iowa -- Authorities have found the vehicle of a missing northern Iowa man submerged in the frozen waters of Clear Lake.

    Divers with the Mason City Fire Department resumed their search Friday morning for Phillip Dvorak, 42, of Ventura.

    A resident helping with the search spotted the Jeep Cherokee Thursday just west of a sandbar. Bob Wolfram said he began drilling holes in the ice after he saw newly formed ice covering what looked like transmission fluid.

    The vehicle will be lifted out of the water Friday. Authorities have been searching for Dvorak since last Saturday, when his family reported him missing.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Man Rescued After Falling Through Ice

    http://www.wowt.com/news/headlines/595842.html

    Man Rescued After Falling Through Ice
    Told paramedics he wanted to kill himself

    A very public suicide attempt led to a daring lake rescue Friday morning at Heartland Of America Park.

    Just before 10 a.m., a man broke through the ice on the lake. Fortunately for him, people were watching.

    ConAgra employees and a contract electrician couldn't believe they saw a man walk across the ice toward the edge. "He was getting closer to the edge and finally he broke through and I said he doesn't have long out there and waited for a little bit longer to see if he'd crawl out and I realized he wasn't going to," said Gayland Stouffer, who grabbed some conduit and along with several ConAgra employees rushed out to the edge of the water. Things didn't look good when they got there. "He was starting to go kind of up and down, but as soon as I threw that flex conduit out there he grabbed for it right away and held on." Stouffer and the others pulled the man toward the shore. Paramedics took over from there.

    Bundled in blankets, the 39-year-old man was rushed to the hospital where it was feared hypothermia might set in, and there were other complications. "We're probably going to do an emergency protection, a committal on the party," said Omaha Police Sgt. Jeff Baker. "He's got a note and made some comments to us that he was intending to harm himself." Police recovered the letter left on the bank, but they didn't open it. They said the man told paramedics he "wasn't happy with his life anymore" and was going to kill himself. "I don't know if I did him any favors or not," said Stouffer. "That's what he was out there to do, but when he grabbed onto the cable and started to bring himself in, I figured he probably had some second thoughts about that."

    Thanks to Stouffer and several others, the man's second thoughts may lead to a second chance.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Stranded Snowmobilers Share Story of Survival, Rescue

    Action 2 News Exclusive

    Stranded Snowmobilers Share Story of Survival, Rescue

    By Sarah Thomsen

    An Illinois couple was rescued from the waters of Green Bay late Wednesday night thanks to the heroics of a helicopter crew that braved 35- to 40-mile-an-hour winds and whiteout conditions to find them. Richard Olszewski and Beth Casas shared their story exclusively with Action 2 News.

    Olszewski and Casas went snowmobiling, only to miss their turn in the blowing snow and end up on thin ice and into the frigid water.

    "I fell through the water first," Olszewski said. "She was still on the ice. I just told her to go get some help. She wanted me to crawl to her, but another body soaked -- I weigh 200 pounds natural, so I figure 300 pounds next to her may have cracked the ice, which I didn't want to happen. One down was bad enough."

    So Olszewski, now in the water told his girlfriend to drive her snowmobile back over the thin ice to get help.

    "As soon as I turned around," Casas said, "I just nailed it because everybody says to go as fast as you can, and I was gone. As soon as I nailed it, I just went right under."

    Now they were both in the water but no longer near each other.

    Casas started to swim. "I just kept swimming. I was just freaking out because I just kept breaking through the ice and pulling up on the ice, and right next to me was waves so I was even more scared because of all the waves."

    Rescuers estimate Casas swam close to a mile-and-a-half to Grassy Island. In the meantime, Olszewski used his cell phone to call 911. He was able to tell them his situation but couldn't give them a location, and then he dropped his cell phone in the water. The Eagle III rescue helicopter was dispatched.

    As Casas reached Grassy Island, Eagle III was in the air. She reached the island before spotting the helicopter. But the helicopter passed her by. "You're upset because you see the helicopter go by and they're shining right by you and they think they see you," Casas said.

    But they didn't see her. They passed over her several times before seeing her reflective gear. The helicopter came down to her.

    "I just held on to his neck for dear life I was so happy," Casas said. She told the helicopter crew her boyfriend was still missing.

    But Olszewski was worried rescuers couldn't see him. The helicopter passed over him several times, too, and he'd been in the freezing water for an hour. He would have to wait another 45 minutes. Olszewski waved his helmet which had a flashing red light, hoping the helicopter crew would see him.

    "Not a good feeling," Olszewski said, "but their last pass, they were a couple feet off the ground coming straight at me. I knew somehow or another they found out exactly where I was. If it wasn't for that last pass, it was probably over for me."

    He grabbed on to the helicopter's landing skid. When the pilot couldn't find solid ice to land on, the paramedicss onboard braced themselves, leaned out, and pulled Olszewski in.

    Olszewski and Casas spent the night in a hospital to be treated for hypothermia. Miraculously, frostbitten fingers are Olszewski's only visible reminder of what happened.

    "Brings tears to my eyes," he said. "I would have been dead if it wasn't for those people."

    "Their determination is what saved my life."

    "We're alive. I'm just happy we're all here together, everything came together."

    The couple says they plan to get back out on snowmobiles soon -- just not on the bay.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default What Lies Beneath, or Doesn't

    January 24, 2004

    What Lies Beneath, or Doesn't

    By DAN BARRY

    Divers tried again yesterday, immersing themselves in the wintry dark waters of the lake at Prospect Park. And, again, they failed to find the body of a man who decided to take a Sunday morning stroll across thin ice.

    A search for a body trapped beneath ice seems like the awkward kind of tragedy that is more likely to occur someplace else, someplace colder; upstate, maybe, or in New England.

    But in a man-made lake in Brooklyn? In waters about six feet deep? It all seems so out of place.

    Then again, these are among the very elements that make the event seem almost distinctly, eerily New York. In a popular park in a heavily populated part of the city, a man shakes free of the urban crush to cross his personal tundra, which then rewards his independence by swallowing him up.

    Or not. No one has filed a missing person's report in the week since, and there are conflicting reports about whether he managed to reach shore. Will the police eventually find a body? Or will the man become the subject of Brooklyn lore, a Prospect Park phantom, spotted for certain at summer's dusk by boys and girls aching to be scared?

    The answer has yet to surface. The police, who suspect that he did die, have no recourse but to continue their search. And visitors to the park can only stand at the lakeshore and read significance into the many shoe prints - of recovery workers and, who knows, the man himself that will remain imbedded in the lake's surface until the next thaw.

    ``I don't ever recall a situation like this,'' said Liam Kavanagh, a deputy commissioner of parks and recreation. ``Usually the victim is recovered within hours of the incident.''

    On maps of Brooklyn, the 60-acre lake looks like a wispy blue whale nestled at the park's southern corner. Since its construction in the late 19th century, the lake has gone through cycles of grandeur and neglect, and is now a clouded refuge for frogs and ducks, a place for children to fish with rolled-up balls of bread on their hooks.

    On Sunday morning, some dog walkers spotted a young man in brown clothes walking on ice toward the center of the lake, parts of which were not frozen. Some people shouted at him to come back -- What, was he crazy? - while others hurriedly dialed 911. He fell through the ice, pulled himself out, and then fell through again.

    Several witnesses told police that he screamed for help before disappearing for the last time, although one witness planted some doubt by saying that the man made it to shore and walked away.

    Rescue divers from the Police and Fire Departments spent Sunday searching waters so murky that they could do little more than hunt by hand. The police divers have returned several times since then without luck. Sometimes their scuba equipment freezes up; sometimes the water surface above them begins to ice over.

    After three hours in the morning bite of yesterday's cold, the police divers set aside their manhunt and drove away, allowing the lake to keep its secret for at least another day - and casting this corner of the park in an unsettling winter light. Did this jogger huffing his way past, or that horseback rider bouncing along, know that lodged beneath the lake's icy layer there might be the body of a man dressed in brown?

    THE January sun threw the skeletal shadows of barren trees upon the gray ice, while Canada geese rising from the water honked in farewell. Along the lake's southern shore, yellow strips of plastic bearing a familiar phrase, "police line do not cross,'' fluttered from trees and lampposts.

    On the western shore, two park officers sat in the warmth of their idling truck and stared out at the lake, which looked like a gray-white meadow interrupted only by a wide circle of unfrozen water.

    That is just one reason why the city ought to fence the lake off in winter, one of the officers said.

    They said their job was to keep people from venturing onto the ice, which happens regularly, despite the dozens of signs that say, "Danger, Keep Off at All Times." It might be people emboldened by liquor or subdued by depression, or pet lovers dashing after their seagull-chasing dogs.

    "Next thing you know, you're in there,'' the officer said.

    And across the lake, on the eastern shore, there sat a single police car. Any time a passer-by ventured close to the pallid body of suspended animation, the police car emitted a wah-wah of warning that told the living to keep moving.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Vehicle and body of missing fisherman recovered

    Vehicle and body of missing fisherman recovered

    01-23-2004

    (KAAL) -- After several days of friends and family fearing the worst, the body of a north Iowa ice fisherman is discovered in Clear Lake.

    Several agencies spent untold hours trying to locate Phillip Dvorak, a 42-year-old husband, father and volunteer firefighter.

    Phillip Dvorak had been reported missing Saturday by his wife when he failed to return home from ice fishing.

    Dvorak's Jeep Cherokee was discovered under the ice Thursday by a neighbor using a fish detector.

    Divers searched the area about 9 feet down until cold and dark ended the operation.

    The underwater search resumed this morning and the Jeep was brought up using pontoon equipment shortly after noon.

    Ventura Fire Department Member and Dvorak's Friend Jeff Kaduce told Six News Reporter Mark Johnson, "We took the time to have the crew set up to bring the Jeep up and once they brought it up, we determined he wasn't in the vehicle. After a little bit of searching, [we] spotted the body farther away in the lake.

    "No body knows for sure if there was open water all the way across. We don't know if he tried to swim out. That's something we'll never know."

    The theory is that Dvorak may have misjudged his vehicle's path on the sand bar due to early morning fog, and drove into the water.

    - Mark Johnson
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Divers Find Body Of Missing Fisherman

    Authorities Find Body Of Missing Fisherman

    Man Missing Since Saturday

    January 23, 2004

    VENTURA, Iowa -- Authorities have found the body of a northern Iowa man who didn't return home from an ice fishing trip last week.

    Divers discovered the body of 42-year-old Phillip Dvorak, of Ventura, under the frozen surface of Clear Lake Friday. Dvorak's SUV was found in the lake Thursday.

    Authorities had been searching for Dvorak since Saturday when his family reported him missing.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Ice Rescue attracts emergency responders from around the state

    Winter Ice Rescue attracts emergency responders from around the state

    From Pilot staff reports
    The Pilot-Independent

    Saturday, January 24th, 2004

    The only ice water rescue training in Minnesota was held in Cass County all day Saturday.

    Despite cold weather and blowing snow, more than 160 people from emergency response teams from around the state participated in the third annual event held on Cass Lake.

    Dive and rescue teams, fire departments and ambulance crews taking part included Anoka, Carver, Cass, Hubbard, Itasca and Ramsey counties. All told, 168 members came from around the state to train, or to watch others hone their skills.

    The training consisted of underwater ice dives, equipment needed for a successful ice dive, team safety above and below the ice, and a snowmobile accident involving open water. Emergency teams also used hovercrafts or Ice Angel (airboat) for ice and water rescues.

    The course counts for seven Peace Officers Standards Training credits.

    The day began with all agencies registering and receiving a program outline. From there teams went out on the ice to designated spots to set up their tents, train and to watch other agencies practice their craft.

    The Itasca County Sheriff's Dive Team and the Lakes Area Dive Team, which serves Cass and Hubbard counties, were two area agencies to practice under-ice dives. While Itasca was able to accomplish a successful dive, the Lakes Area Dive Team was hampered by equipment problems.

    The winter ice training exercise was sponsored by the Cass County Sheriff's Department and the Cass lake Fire Department.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Airboat proves worth during ice training

    http://www.dailyherald.com/mchenry/m...intID=38011149


    Firefighters warm up for ice cold rescues

    By Gwen H. Jader
    Daily Herald Correspondent

    January 25, 2004
    Temperatures in the teens and snow flurries made Saturday a perfect day to sack out in front of the television.

    About 50 Fox Lake, Lake Geneva and McHenry firefighters, however, spent the morning outdoors practicing ice rescue techniques as part of an annual training session sponsored by the Fox Lake Fire Department.

    With 1,200 miles of shoreline to patrol along the Chain O' Lakes and inland waters, fire departments are kept busy each winter, said Fox Lake fire Lt. Curt Martin, who is also a department dive master.

    Ice fishermen, snowmobiles and four wheelers fall through the ice every year, he said. Last year, the department was called out about 45 times, Martin said.

    The refresher training was held on Nippersink Lake in Fox Lake and included airboat operations, surface ice rescues, cold water rescues and shore-based rescues. Firefighters used special suits, ropes and ice awls in their drills.

    "What it does is to help us get everybody on the same page," said Fox Lake assistant fire Chief Dave Becker.

    Fire departments in Fox Lake, Antioch, Lake Villa, Round Lake, Grayslake and Newport Township now use an airboat for rescues. It can travel over the ice and through water.

    Rich Hoehne, who has captained the airboat for three years, says it is a tremendous tool that's drastically reduced response times.

    Without the airboat, firefighters must walk out on the ice, which can take up to 40 minutes. When using the airboat for a typical snowmobile rescue, it takes about 15 minutes for firefighters to put the victim en route to the hospital from the time the call was received, he said.

    "There's no price on a life and using the airboat has helped us to rescue people more quickly," he said.

    Surprisingly, there was no shortage of volunteers to play the victims during the drills Saturday. By wearing waterproof neoprene suits, developed for the crews of offshore oil rigs, the divers stay warm, Martin said.

    Safety of the ice cannot be measured by thickness alone. Its condition is even more important since ice that has melted and then frozen again typically is more prone to break, Martin said.

    "This training gives everyone the opportunity to see the different types of ice and the dangers involved," he said.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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