Police, town authorities warn about dangers of ice after 4 teens fall through LaSalle pond

·2 min read

Local police and town authorities are warning the public about the dangers of thin ice after four teens fell into a pond on the weekend.

The incident happened on a pond at the Vollmer Culture and Recreation Complex on Sunday, just after 2 p.m.

Police said the teens went out to play hockey, but shortly after getting on the ice, it broke apart.

One of the group members ended up under the water, according to Const. Terry Seguin.

"They were all scared," he said. "You're just getting ready to go out and have a little fun and you don't expect the ice to give way underneath you."

Police say a parent who was standing on shore called 911, and paramedics assessed the teens for any injuries or hypothermia. The group member who was submerged was sent to hospital for further assessment.

Seguin said people should never go out on ice without first telling someone where they'll be.

Having that parent on shore gave the teens a chance to contact emergency services immediately, rather than if or when they managed to scramble out of the water.

'It is very, very terrifying'

Ice needs to be at least 10 centimetres thick to be considered safe, said Seguin.

Thickness can also vary in different places and it can be difficult to know just how much ice there is without chopping a hole to be sure, he added.

Regardless, police say it hasn't been cold enough — for long enough — for any ice to be safe.

"It takes a good two, three weeks for sure, at least, of sub-zero temperatures, to develop a thickness of ice that can be considered safe," Seguin explained.

Jacob Barker/CBC
Jacob Barker/CBC

Lakeshore is also cautioning residents to stay off of ice in the municipality.

Mayor Tom Bain said in a news release that retention ponds in the municipality are not safe for skating.

The news release added that several of the ponds in the area have pumps that are set to automatically turn on and off depending on conditions in Lakeshore's drainage system. As a result, ice on the ponds doesn't get very thick.

For his part, Seguin said a fall into freezing water decades ago taught him just how much of a shock it can be.

"I can speak from experience. It ... instantaneously takes your breath away and it is very, very terrifying," he said.

"The key is, keep your wits about you and get out of the ice as quick as possible and get help as quick as you can."