Press-Republican

Tuesday

January 15, 2013

Rescues avert thin-ice disasters

Anglers avoid disaster after falling through

SARANAC LAKE — Two anglers were rescued from the frigid waters of Lake Colby here after the ice gave way beneath their four-wheeler.

And five people floundered for several minutes in the frigid waters of Lake Champlain near Addison, Vt., after they fell through.

“The ice on Lake Champlain is not safe at this time,” Essex County (N.Y.) Emergency Services Director Donald Jaquish emphasized on Monday. “I would not advise anyone to go out there.”

DEC spokesman David Winchell says the same about Lake Colby and other bodies of water in the Adirondacks, where unseasonably warm weather has affected the thickness and stability of the ice.

The Lake Colby rescue happened at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday, with two forest rangers and a DEC officer called out by State Police.

“Forest rangers assisted Mr. S. Comstock and Mrs. D. Comstock, both 53, of Saranac off the very thin ice,” he said. “The couple were wet from falling through the ice. They were given dry clothes and were placed in a heated patrol vehicle. They declined any further treatment.”

The Comstocks had planned to spend the afternoon ice fishing, according to Winchell.

He said another all-terrain-vehicle broke through thin ice on Lake Colby earlier Saturday, but no rescue was needed.

“Both ATVs were removed from the water by the end of the day. No tickets were issued.”

‘NO ICE IS SAFE’

Sunday’s incident near the Vermont shore of Lake Champlain began when four ice anglers fell through thin ice. Then a person who tried to rescue them got dunked, too.

The near tragedy occurred near the 10 Acres Campground and RV Park in the Town of Addison, across the lake from Crown Point. The call for help, though, came via a cellphone tower on the New York state side to the Essex County 911 Center in Lewis, Jaquish said. 

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