TWINSBURG, Ohio (WJW)– When three boys ventured onto a partially-frozen pond off of Pratt Lane in Twinsburg on Saturday, a couple that lives nearby took notice.
They became concerned when the boys walked to closer the edge of the ice cover near open water.
“I said, ‘Should I call the police?’ You know, they shouldn’t be on there. We could see the ducks swimming, so you knew where the ice ended,” Sherri Botta said.
Botta and her husband were surprised when the boys began stomping on the ice, but what happened next was predictable.
“My husband said ‘I think I saw a splash, call the police,’” Botta said. “He was like, ‘OK, got to get boots and a rope’ because, you know, it’s thin ice and we’re not as young as they are. We’re going to go through.”
As the couple was heading to the pond, they were relieved to see that the boy who had fallen through was being pulled out of the water by his friends.
‘He said, ‘Never mind, they’re running across the ice.'”
When Botta called Twinsburg police to report what happened, the dispatcher asked, “Do you think he needs an ambulance?” Botta responded, “I don’t think he needs an ambulance, but if he’s around too much longer, you know, it doesn’t take long, it’s cold out.”
Before first responders arrived at the scene, the boys had ridden away on their bikes, seemingly unaware of how close a call it had been.
“If they went through, there’s not a lot of time. What do they say? You have a minute or two at the most. It was cold,” Botta said. “And I get it, I mean, we were all young, but why are you on the middle of ice on a pond?”
Twinsburg firefighters said the incident provides a valuable opportunity for parents to have a conversation with their children about the danger of going out onto the ice.
“You cannot trust ice. There’s too many variables that come into play, and it may look like it’s stable, but the biggest thing is you can’t trust it,” Lt. Brian Laughlin.
Veteran firefighters, who have responded to numerous ice rescues over the years, said they are concerned the recent cold spell created the false impression that the ice is safe.
“You don’t know what the current is underneath, so you could have sub-zero temperatures at night for even a week, you just don’t know. And I just don’t think it’s worth taking that risk,” Laughlin said.
Firefighters said it’s important to stress that anyone going onto the ice is also endangering the lives of good Samaritans who may try to rescue them.