Among the many winter recreation enthusiasts who have taken to frozen Lake Wallenpaupack recently, are several who took an unexpected icy plunge this past Saturday when their vehicles they operated hit open water.
PALMYRA TWP. (Pike) - Among the many winter recreation enthusiasts who have taken to frozen Lake Wallenpaupack recently, are several who took an unexpected icy plunge this past Saturday when their vehicles they operated hit open water.
Tafton Dive Team Captain Richard Groo urged the public to be careful, noting in some areas the ice is not as thick as in others.
Lisa Burns, representing Wally Ice Fest, said the ice is being monitored for the event, which is this weekend. She said no one will be allowed on the ice if it is less than 10 inches thick.
Groo said that all of them escaped alive, but were taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital to be checked for hypothermia. A woman in the first incident, who was in the water the longest, was transported to Geisinger Community Medical Center.
Around noon, two people on snowmobiles had a close call when one machine went through the ice near Epply Island. Groo stated that there is an area of open water, about two to three acres in size, between the island and Spinnler Point.
They did not see the open water and were not able to avoid it, ice fishermen nearby came and rescued team from the water. Tafton and Ledgedale Dive Teams, and Tafton Ambulance were immediately called out.
Later that afternoon, around 4:30 or 5 p.m., a group riding ATV quads hit the same spot of open water.
Groo said that four people were involved, and all of them got out of the water on their own. They were also transported to the hospital.
The two ATVs, however, joined the snowmobile at the bottom the lake, Groo said.
A fisherman put up some caution tape, but Groo said to cordon off the whole area would take about 4,000 feet of tape.
He urged people to use extreme caution, and beware of their surroundings. The ice needs to be checked often, he said.
There are a lot of people out on the lake, he said, on snowmobiles, ATVs and ice fishing. He said they want people to be able to have fun and enjoy themselves, but they need to be careful. The dive team advises people to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) and have a tool to pull themselves out of the water onto the ice.
Gross said this was the first incident of the winter for the two dive teams. He noted that incidents such as this puts the volunteer emergency responders at risk as well as the people having to be rescued.