We just came out of one cold, bitter winter. There were times it felt as if spring would never get here.

But now that there’s more sun, more warmth and even small signs of green, there have been news stories about some who maybe weren’t ready to let go of cold-weather fun.

An ‘idiotic’ risk

In February, about 135 ice fisherman were trapped on an 8-mile-wide ice floe that broke away from Lake Erie’s shoreline. The island of ice trapped the men, one of whom fell into the water and later died. A local sheriff called the fishermen’s actions – given warming temperatures and the fragile ice – “idiotic.”

Closer to home, on March 7, a local man fell through the ice on a pond while ice fishing in Horseheads. He was in the water for an hour before phone company workers happened to hear his cries for help. WETM reported on the story – the man recovered, but he had hypothermia and a separated shoulder from his efforts to climb out of the water.

I came across a great primer about what to do if you fall through ice, at the Wired How-To Wiki, a collection of user-contributed instructions on how to do just about anything better. Anyone can add or edit the instructions listed there.

What to do if the ice breaks

Ala “Worst Case Scenario,” these are the four basics to remember if you fall through ice:

  1. Don’t hyperventilate
  2. Orient yourself
  3. Lift and kick
  4. Recover

The wiki goes into greater detail about each step – for instance, did you think about how you should get back to shore? You should “log roll” to keep your weight widely distributed.

Check it out, stay safe, enjoy the sun – and hang up the ice-fishing pole until next winter.

Thanks for reading,

James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:jreed@zifflaw.com http://www.zifflaw.com

  • 150 fishermen rescued from ice floe (msnbc.msn.com)