Teen Drowns After Falling Through Icy Pond

By Scott Sarvay

December 23, 2010 Updated Dec 23, 2010 at 6:17 PM EDT

COLUMBUS, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - One teen is dead and two others are hospitalized after falling through the ice on a residential pond.

The ice was only about one and a half inches thick, not nearly enough to support the weight of people.

Ice must be at least 4 inches of clear, solid ice. Thinner ice will support one person, but since ice thickness can vary considerably, especially at the beginning and end of the season, 4 inches will provide a margin of safety.

If going out on an icy surface go with a buddy and keep a good distance apart as you walk out. If one goes in the other can call for help, the companion can also attempt a rescue if one of you are carrying rope or other survival gear.

Snowmobiles and ATV's need at least 5 inches, and cars and light trucks need at least 8-12 inches of good clear ice.

If you think that being immersed in icy cold water is no big deal, try holding your hands in a bucket of ice water for more than a couple of minutes.

If you do fall in try not to panic as the cold can take your breath away. If you decide on a plan before you actually fall in, survival chances are much greater.

Wear a life jacket. Life vests or float coats provide excellent flotation and protection from hypothermia (loss of body temperature).
Carry a pair of homemade ice picks tied together with a few yards of strong cord that can be used to pull yourself up and onto the ice if you do fall in. Be sure they have wooden handles so if you drop them in they won't go straight to the bottom!
Avoid driving a vehicle on ice.
Check the water access and if there are signs indicating an operating aeration system on the lake. Aerators keep areas of water open to provide oxygen for fish and the ice can be weakened many yards beyond where the ice is actually open.

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