Ice rescues keep crews busy in four towns - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Ice rescues keep crews busy in four towns

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John Sperry being rescued from the ice in West Haven. John Sperry being rescued from the ice in West Haven.
The ice Sperry fell through in West Haven. The ice Sperry fell through in West Haven.
A man and his dog fell through the ice on this lake in Ashford. A man and his dog fell through the ice on this lake in Ashford.
WEST HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

Officials in Hebron, West Haven, Ashford and Greenwich said crews were busy performing ice rescues Thursday.

The fire chief in Hebron said a man was ice fishing on a pond in a backyard off Burnt Hill Road Thursday afternoon when he found a thin spot. He said someone dialed 911 for help.

The unnamed middle-aged man was in the water for approximately 18 minutes when rescuers arrived. They said he was alert when he was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

In West Haven, police said 70-year-old John Sperry was testing the ice on Phipps Lake Thursday morning to see if it was safe for skating when he fell through.

Neighbor Peter Brooks told Eyewitness News that Sperry's wife was home and called for help.

"He was in the water," said Brooks. "They had a flat boat and the ladder flat across the ice and got him out of the water onto the boat and pulled him to the shore and got him out."

Deputy Fire Chief Scott Schwartz was one of the first rescuers on the scene.

"He was laying on his back," said Schwartz. "I thought he had already passed out."

Crews had to suit up in special outfits to protect them from the freezing water.

"The biggest concern was getting out to him before he went underneath," explained Mike Southworth of the West Haven Fire Department. "I actually went through the ice myself. I was able to get underneath him and hold him and keep him from going underneath the water."

Fire officials said Sperry is currently being treated for possible hypothermia.

"He seemed slightly confused from the hypothermia," said Southworth.

Brooks said Phipps Lake does often freeze to the point where you can walk on it. However, the temperatures were milder before Winter Storm Chester's arrival on Tuesday.

In Ashford, the fire department said a man also fell through the ice.

They said he was walking his dog near Farm Drive when it happened.

He also had to be pulled to shore on a flat boat after being in the water for between six and 10 minutes. They said he was not that far out in the water.

Rescuers there said everything went smoothly. The unidentified man was taken to Windham Hospital for treatment. They said he was somewhat responsive at the time. The dog was also said to be fine.

In Greenwich, police said a couple of teens fell through the ice on a pond near Willowmere Circle. The teens were able to get out themselves before rescuers arrived.

Police said they were taken to the hospital as a precaution, but they did not appear to have any injuries.

Officials warn that there is a current that moves under the surface, and that does not freeze as quickly as water that is still.

Copyright 2014 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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