The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

March 11, 2013

On thin ice

Rescuers save 3; fisherman dies

MERCER COUNTY AREA — This isn’t the time of year to walk on ice, no matter how thick it appears, a Mercer County fire chief reiterated Sunday, after he spent the morning helping to rescue a man from a frigid farm pond in Pine Township.

“It was a huge eye-opener,” Pine Township Fire Chief Christopher Holmes said.

Holmes and his volunteers spent Sunday morning pulling a man from a large pond at 395 Daugherty Road.

Holmes didn’t get the man’s full name, but said he was taken to Grove City Medical Center, Pine Township, where he should recover from hypothermia.

He said the man was lucky to be alive.

The man went out on the ice in a kayak “to fetch a dog” he saw on the ice. The dog didn’t survive, Holmes said.

“It was somebody’s dog, it wasn’t his,” Holmes said. “The dog was around 200 yards away (from where the man went under).”

The kayak went through the ice and filled with freezing water and the man spent several minutes “hanging on for dear life,” Holmes said.

“It was really stressful there at the beginning,” he said.

Firefighters from Grove City and the Unionville, Butler County, cold water rescue team were assisted by Superior Ambulance at the scene.

Eventually a boat was put into the pond and the man was pulled to safety.

“We were trying to do our best,” Holmes said. “The gentleman couldn’t even make a grip with his hand; he was just numb.”

The incident, along with others that happened this weekend and Thursday’s drowning death of Jean Black, 56, of Hubbard, and two of her dogs through the ice of Shenango River Lake in Pymatuning Township should make evident the dangers of venturing onto ice -- especially during the recent "heat wave," Holmes said.

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