December 15, 2016 10:36 pm

Close call for ice fishing enthusiast

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A Kelowna man is warning others to play it safe when venturing out onto ice-covered lakes.

“It was scary and it is very serious,” Gordon Leishman said. “I want to warn people how easily something like that can turn into tragedy,”

Leishman was ice fishing on Swan Lake near Vernon Thursday afternoon when he fell through the ice into the frigid water.

“I was cold. I knew I had to get the hell out of there as soon as possible,” said Leishman.

Luckily, another fisherman was nearby and able to help.

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“He was kind of hesitant to get too close and so I kind of broke through some thin ice and he laid down where ice was thicker and as I got near him he grabbed me and hauled me out,” said Leishman.

Leishman is sharing his story to help others avoid tragedy.

“I didn’t really take notice of the ice I was walking over and I should have because I walked over a patch that was kind of more opaque looking.”

Experts says cloudy or opaque looking ice spells danger.

Ice needs to be clear and at least four inches thick for a person to walk on.

Even that, says Marco Ariano with Vernon Search and Rescue, brings risk.

“It can be extremely dangerous. If you know what you are doing and if you are cautious and assess the risk, you can be alright but the risk is always there. If you go through the ice and it’s cold and there is no one else around and you can’t get out, that could be it.”

Leishman is thanking the man who pulled him from the water.

“He put himself at risk to save me and I didn’t get the guy’s name but I would just like to say thank you and Merry Christmas.”

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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