Firefighters rescue 2 fishermen who fell through ice near Haliburton

Two people were rescued from Birch Narrows after going through the ice early Friday morning in Haliburton. Haliburton Fire Department

Firefighters rescued two people who went through the ice in Haliburton, Ont., early Friday morning.

Around 3:40 a.m., Haliburton Fire and Rescue were called to Birch Narrows — a stretch between Grass Lake and Kashagwigamong Lake just east of Haliburton.

Fire chief Mike Iles says when they arrived, they discovered four fishermen had gone through the ice.

READ MORE: Haliburton OPP issue safety warning after vehicles break through ice

“Two people had gotten out by themselves,” said Iles.

Iles says firefighters managed to get the other two anglers out after they had been in the frigid water for at least 30 minutes. All four were transported to hospital suffering hypothermia but were in stable condition, he said.

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“Two people would probably be dead today if not for intervention/rescue by the fire department this morning,” Iles stated.

The OPP’s investigation determined the four men were travelling on two snowmobiles and an ATV when the ATV broke through thin ice. The 32 year-old driver of the ATV was found to have been drinking alcohol. A three day licence suspension was served following a warn range result at the roadside.

Iles said within the last few days, 12 people have gone through the ice in Haliburton County, referencing two separate incidents last Friday on Boshkung Lake and Twelve Mile Lake. In all the incidents, no one had a personal flotation device or was carrying an ice pick.

He says people who are unfamiliar with the area’s lakes or rivers should refrain from venturing onto them.

“All 12 people were travelling near areas of moving water, thin ice or open water, that they should have been aware of,” he said.

“The four individuals this morning were unaware of their surroundings and the lake. These are preventable accidents.”

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