Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thin Ice

Toward the Pond
This picture was taken nearly a year ago but it's fairly close to the view outside our windows now, though instead of sun we've got light snow falling. Through those trees, if you know what to look for, you can see the pond. There is only one house between us and it. It's a small pond and with the exception of the access path that runs down the hill on the other side of our next door neighbor is fairly inaccessible. It's set down from the few surrounding houses and ours is the only nearby road.

It's a small pond and doesn't get a lot of use - an occasional fisherman, teenagers looking for a spot to be alone, and in the depths of winter ice skaters. Yesterday our little pond was the focus of a lot of activity. Early in the afternoon Amy noticed fire trucks and police cars parked, lights flashing near the access path.

My first reaction was that someone had fallen through the ice, but the lack of an ambulance and the quick departure of the police car - sirens blaring - had us thinking that maybe we were wrong and they were just checking the barrier on the access path. But the fire truck didn't leave and we heard shouting. The only words I could make out were "talk to us". The fire trucks were there a long time.

Amy was out shoveling when a neighbor walked by headed back to his house. He'd been more curious than we were about the activity and had gone to see what was happening. As it turned out my first instincts were correct - someone, or rather two someones had fallen through the ice. Apparently two teenage boys, 15ish according to the tv reports, had decided to walk across the pond. They almost made it falling through the ice just before reaching the far side of the pond. The very good news is that the fire department was able to rescue them and they are going to be okay.

It was not been cold here for very long, in fact until the last three days it has mostly been in the mid-30s. There's been frost but we have not had the kind of sustained cold to form reasonable ice on any pond. Given the lack of cold I'm amazed that these boys didn't fall through within feet of the shore on this side.

The boys, despite their really bad decision to walk across the thin ice on the pond, did a couple of things right once they ended up in the water. They removed their shoes and pants - which worsened their hypothermia. They were able to pull themselves out of the water. When the firefighters finally got to them, after what the news reported as a mile long trek through the pathless woods, two of them removed their cold water protection suits and wrestled the boys into them.

The fire trucks and the news vans that arrived in their wake are now gone. The memories of this will stay with me. My heart goes out to the families that came way too close to losing their children. The outcome of this incident could have been much, much worse.

Please remind all those close to you - stay off the ice!

1 comment:

self taught artist said...

that is quite a lot of drama for sure, but glad it turned out without something tragic.
you tell a good story...
merry christmas btw