DALTON, Ohio (WJW)– Two boys and their grandfather are recovering after being rescued from an icy pond by the East Wayne Fire District in Dalton Sunday.
The boys, ages 6 and 4 years old, were playing on a family farm where their grandfather works when they fell through the ice around 11 a.m., according to a Wayne County Sheriff’s Office report. A woman witnessed the incident and immediately called 911.
“We responded from home and from church to get to the scene,” said East Wayne Fire District Chief Kyle Nussbaum.
The chief said he and a volunteer firefighter raced to the scene with only the gear in their vehicles while mutual aid was on the way.
Upon learning what happened, the boy’s grandfather attempted to rescue the children, but also fell through the ice.
“The adult that we rescued advised us that we had a second child in the water that was underneath that we didn’t know about,” said the fire chief.
The witness interviewed in a Wayne County Sheriff’s Office report estimated the children could have been in the water up to 10 minutes.
First responders said the youngest child was found submerged, in cardiac arrest and required CPR upon rescue. Both children were taken to an Akron hospital for treatment by medical helicopter.
“There is no safe ice at this time with all the thawing and warming of the season right now. There’s no way to check that ice without going out to drill a hole to check the thickness of it,” Nussbaum said.
On Monday, the children’s father said during a phone call their youngest son was “fighting” in the hospital.
The fire chief said he is grateful everyone was rescued and praises the work of one volunteer first responder who put his life on the line to save the children.
“I want to give special accommodation to firefighter Ryan Sprunger,” said the chief. “He made entry into the water without any thermal protection just a life jacket to keep their heads above water.”
Nussbaum said an immediate response is critical to saving lives during an ice rescue. He added if the volunteers happened to be farther from the scene, there would have been a serious delay rescuing the victims.