Monday , 23 May 2022
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Vehicle removed from Cold Lake after it plunged through the ice

A vehicle that plunged through ice into the frigid water at the Cold Lake Marina over the weekend has now been removed.

On Saturday, March 26, a vehicle went through the ice while travelling on the lake near the marina with two people inside. Both were able to escape. 

“I’ve been here almost 40 years now and I haven’t heard of too many vehicles going through the ice, so typically they just drop a wheel or something,” Jeff Fallow, Manager of Protective Services/Fire Chief of Cold Lake Fire-Rescue said. “This was the first time I’ve seen one on its side in the lake like that.”

On Tuesday, March 29, the vehicle was removed safely from the lake with some ingenuity and the integrity of the lake was kept in tact.

“We were checking the water while it was in there and Environment Alberta was involved throughout the process,” Fallow said. “We followed the rules and regulations that they asked us to and we continued to check on it. We didn’t see any fluids leaked out of the tank.”

Photo Credit: Priscilla Huppie

Ice Safety Tips

It is now spring and the ice in Cold Lake is quickly melting, because of this Cold Lake Fire-Rescue would like to remind residents of ice safety.

“Be cautious if you’re going on there,” Fallow said.

Many factors affect ice thickness including the type of water, location, and time of year. Other environmental factors also affect ice thickness such as the size and depth of the body of water; moving water (i.e. currents, drainage, runoff); snow cover; chemicals including salt; fluctuations in water levels; logs, rocks, and docks absorbing heat from the sun; changing air temperature and shock waves from vehicles travelling on the ice.

“Please check local area signage, authorities, and media before going onto the ice,” Fallow said. “No ice is without risk.”

Cold Lake Fire-Rescue would like to remind residents of these ten ice safety tips:

  1. Use designated ice surfaces-Many communities have designated ponds for activities such as skating that are maintained by knowledgeable personnel. Designated ice should be regularly tested to ensure that it is thick enough and strong enough for recreational use.
  2. Spring Ice is Rotten Ice-Stop using the ice once spring thaws begin. Even if ice measures at the right thickness (minimum 10 cm or 4 inches for walking or skating alone), thawing and refreezing during spring weakens the ice vertically. The ice can no longer be trusted.
  3. Measure ice thickness in several locations-Local conditions such as currents and water depths can affect ice thickness. Consult knowledgeable local individuals. White ice has air or snow within it and should be considered suspect for recreational use.
  4. Avoid traveling on the ice at night-At night it is very difficult to see open holes in the ice. This is a frequent cause of snowmobile drownings.
  5. Never go onto ice alone-A buddy may be able to rescue you, or go for help if you get into difficulty. Before you leave the shore, tell someone where you are going and the expected time of return.
  6. Stay off river ice-Avoid moving water and stay off water bodies with changing water levels. River currents can quickly change ice thickness overnight or between different parts of the river.
  7. Wear a snowmobile flotation suit or a lifejacket-Wear a lifejacket or PFD over your snowmobile suit or layered winter clothes to increase your survival chances if you do go through the ice.
  8. Take safety equipment with you-Include ice picks, ice staff, rope, and a small personal safety kit in your pocket, which should include a lighter, waterproof matches, magnesium fire starter, pocket knife, compass, whistle, and a cell phone.
  9. Avoid alcohol-Alcohol impairs your judgment and speeds up the development of hypothermia.
  10. If you drive on ice, have an escape plan-Open your windows, unlock your doors, ensure seat belts are unfastened, and turn on your lights to allow you to quickly escape from your vehicle should it go through the ice.

It should be noted, to always actively supervise children playing on or near ice. Children should always be under active adult supervision. Children that aren’t within arm’s reach have ventured too far. Insist that they wear a lifejacket/PFD or thermal protection buoyant suit.

Rescuing another person from the ice can be dangerous. The safest way to perform a rescue is from the shore. If you see someone in trouble, call 911.

About Arthur C. Green

Arthur C. Green is an award winning journalist and is from Whitbourne Newfoundland. Green graduated from the CNA Journalism Program. Arthur also studied Business Marketing and Political Science at Memorial University in Essex England and St. John's Newfoundland. Green has worked for such organizations as CBC, CBC Radio, NTV, Saltwire, Great West Media, CKLB Radio, River Radio, Vista Radio, and Postmedia. He also loves Jiggs Dinner and can fillet a Codfish.