A 23-year-old woman is said to be doing fine after falling into the Hudson River in Hoboken, New Jersey, ABC News7 reports.
Police say the woman recently snuck onto a pier, climbing over a railing. Snow obstructed her view of a gap between the pier and the dock, and the woman fell more than three metres into icy water below.
She landed in waist-deep water and found a piece of metal to cling to.
"It was unsettling, and it was not safe for us to go out on the pier, because we didn't know if the pier was compromised, or if there was a hole," Hoboken Police Officer Duke McCourt told ABC News 7.
"It was all covered with snow, and it was chaotic, and we're just happy everything worked out."
An officer was able to rescue the woman by reaching into the gap while other officers held onto their legs.
Every year, officials rescue several people and animals who have fallen through the ice.
A good starting point would be to never sneak onto piers or past barricades, like in the story above.
When venturing out on or near ice, always pay attention to signs that may be posted and watch the weather conditions. Deep chills followed by prolonged spells of temperatures dancing around the freezing mark can weaken the integrity of the ice.
Another thing to look out for?
"If the ice is grey or greyish, do not step out onto it," writes Weather Network science writer Scott Sutherland.
"If the ice is any shade of grey, it is likely decaying or melting, and it is probably fairly thin and weak. The source of the grey colour is typically the dark liquid water underneath showing through the ice. Even if it is very light or pale grey, it is best to err on the side of caution."
Sutherland cites the Canadian Red Cross, which recommends ice to be 15 cm thick for walking along, 20 cm thick for groups skating, and 25 cm thick for snowmobile use.
File thumbnail image courtesy: Rufio/Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.