|
The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Waneta Lake site of Tuesday ice rescue

  • The identity and condition of a man who fell through the ice on the south end of Lake Waneta around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday is unknown, according to emergency responders.

    • email print
  • The identity and condition of a man who fell through the ice on the south end of Lake Waneta around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday is unknown, according to emergency responders.
    But he was coherent and conscious at the time he was pulled out from near the shore of the thinly iced lake in 5-degree weather, according to his rescuer, Wayne First Assistant Fire Chief Charles Swarthout.
    “We just kept talking to him,” said Swarthout, who also is an emergency medical technician. “You know, saying ‘Hang in there,’ and ‘We’re coming to get you’ and stuff like that. We wanted him to know we were coming.”
    The unidentified man was airlifted by Guthrie Air to an unknown area hospital.
    Swarthout said rescue efforts were hampered by the thin ice, which prevented responders from reaching the downed man more quickly.
    “We kept breaking through the ice,” he said. “It was more like swimming through the ice, really.”
     The middle-aged man was able to stay on top of a chunk of ice during the time it took rescuers to reach him, Swarthout said.
     Being exposed to the cold for that length of time is perilous, according to Swarthout.
     “The heart gets a little tricky,” he said. “That’s really while we airlifted him instead of taking him over the road in an ambulance. Just a bump on the road could be bad.”
    Swarthout said he knows the air and water were frigid, “But really, I didn’t even notice it. I was just thinking about getting out to that guy. Getting him safe.”
     As it happens, responding fire units from Hammondsport and Tyrone had an ice rescue training session with Wayne slated for a week from today.
    But Tuesday’s rescue won’t give volunteers the evening off next week, Swarthout said.
    “There’s a lot of difference between a training and an actual rescue,” he said.
     Wayne was assisted by Hammondsport and Tyrone fire departments, Dundee Ambulance, Schuyler County ALS and Sheriff Department, and state police.
      • calendar