Stay away from this cold-water sport

Journal Pioneer staff
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Likely many of us have tried this at least once, especially those who grew up near the shore – jumping ice cakes.

It’s a dangerous activity, we’re aware of that. But it’s so enticing; the thrill of jumping from one ice floe to the next, with the icy cold waters awaiting your slipup – that misjudged leap.

Living on an Island, the shores and inland waterways are close by no matter where you are. As a warmer day or two offers a promise of spring, those of us who long for the return of beach weather, might want to venture down to the coast or riverbank.

One such trek turned into a terrifying half hour for one Island youth who got trapped on an ice pan on the Seal River in Eastern P.E.I. on Monday.

Kings County RCMP, Cardigan Volunteer Fire Department and Island EMS responded to a 911 call for a youth from this small eastern community who was trapped on a piece of ice.

Cardigan Volunteer Fire Department members were first on the scene, and used their rescue boat to reach the youth and deliver him safely back to shore.

The occurrences of people trapped on ice floes needing to be rescued are infrequent, however, it happens often enough that a number of fire departments, including the Summerside brigade, conduct annual training for ice water rescues, usually around April.

The Summerside firefighters say they have used their ice water rescue training in the past, but fortunately the incidents have been minor in nature.

Also fortunate was that Monday’s story from Seal River had a happy ending. The youngster was on the ice for about a half hour but suffered no injuries.

Soon after the incident, RCMP issued a reminder to the public to refrain from playing at or near loose ice. They also reminded the public that water temperatures are below freezing, enough to cause hypothermia and potential death.

This Kings County youth was trapped on ice in a river. Being on an ice floe in the Northumberland Strait or the Gulf of St. Lawrence would be even more petrifying. The amusement of jumping from ice floe to ice floe is simply not worth the risk. So if you’re going for a beach walk this time of year and you get that urge, perhaps there are enough ice chunks on dry land that will allow you to leap from one to the other without the danger of falling into ice-cold water if you slip off.

Organizations: Cardigan Volunteer Fire Department, RCMP

Geographic location: Seal River, Summerside, Eastern P.E.I.

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