Julie Flaherty, Acting Chief of Police
112 Mystic St.
Arlington, MA 02474
For Immediate Release
Monday, Jan 14, 2019
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Arlington Police and Fire Respond after Ice Skater Falls Through Thin Ice
ARLINGTON — Police Chief Julie Flaherty reports that the Arlington Police and Fire Departments responded to Spy Pond this afternoon after an ice skater fell through the ice.
Rescuers responded to the pond, at a location behind 4 Deveraux St. at 4:45 p.m. Upon arrival, police officers and firefighters were notified that the skater had fallen through the ice approximately 100 yards offshore within the past few minutes. Rescuers found the 68-year-old Arlington man holding onto a piece of broken ice. He was conscious and alert but in serious danger. The man’s wife was also out on the ice, trying to assist him. The two had been skating together.
Arlington Police Officer Michael Foley was the first on scene, and he provide a length of rope for the man to hold on to. Shortly afterward, firefighters arrived wearing water rescue suits. A firefighter jumped in the water to assist, and the Arlington Fire Department Water Rescue Sled was deployed across the ice out to the skater. Firefighters used the sled to bring the man back to the shore.
The skater and his wife were both treated for hypothermia by firefighters, and they were both transported to Mount Auburn Hospital. Both are expected to recover fully.
Chief Flaherty praised the quick thinking and professionalism of the rescuers.
“Rapid response time matched with the right training and equipment made the difference in this instance, and we are very grateful that the ice skater was able to be rescued safely,” Chief Flaherty said.
Though temperatures have been on the colder side recently, Arlington officials warn that, at this time, it has not been cold enough for long enough to make it safe to walk, skate or fish on the ice in any waterway in Arlington.
Chief Flaherty and the Arlington Police Department offer the following general ice safety guidelines to all residents:
The Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs says ice should always be measured in multiple places before testing it with your weight. Ice two inches thick or less should be avoided completely. Ice with a depth of four inches or more is considered safe for ice fishing or other activities on foot. Five inches of ice is recommended for snowmobiles or ATVs. Eight to 12 inches is necessary for a small car, while 12 to 15 inches of ice is necessary for trucks.
General Ice and Cold Water Safety:
- Never go onto the ice alone. A friend may be able to rescue you or go for help if you fall through the ice.
- Always keep your pets on a leash. If a pet falls through the ice do not attempt a rescue. Call 911 instead.
- New ice is usually stronger than old ice. As the ice ages, the bond between the crystals decay, making it weaker, even if melting has not occurred.
- Beware of ice covered with snow. Snow can insulate ice and keep it strong, but can also insulate it to keep it from freezing.
- Slush is a danger sign, indicating that ice is no longer freezing from the bottom and can be weak or deteriorating.
- Ice formed over flowing water (rivers or lakes containing a large number of springs) is generally weaker than pond ice.
- Ice seldom freezes or thaws at a uniform rate. It can be one foot thick in one spot and be only one inch thick 10 feet away.
What To Do If Someone Falls Through Ice
- Reach-Throw-Go: If someone falls through the ice and you are unable to reach that person from shore, throw them something (rope, jumper cables, tree branch, etc.) If this does not work, go for help before you also become a victim. Get medical assistance for the victim immediately.
- If you fall in, try not to panic. Turn toward the direction you came from. Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface, working forward by kicking your feet. Once out, remain lying on the ice (do not stand) and roll away from the hole. Crawl back to your tracks, keeping your weight distributed until you return to solid ice.