Hamilton, Niagara authorities urging residents to stay off ice shelves amid rising temperatures

Hamilton police marine unit Const. Bob Young says ice shelves are "picturesque" but also potentially dangerous. @HamiltonPolice

An incident involving a pair of teens becoming trapped on a Lake Ontario ice shelf on the weekend has a couple of agencies in Niagara and Hamilton urging residents to stay off frozen water bodies as the weather warms up.

The St. Catharines fire service says they had to pull a teen out of the frozen waters of Lake Ontario at the end of Geneva Street on Sunday night after they fell through ice and were unable to get out.

Read more: Flood watch issued for the entire Grand River watershed

The victim was one of two who ventured out onto an ice shelf when part of it broke plunging one into the water while the other became trapped on an unstable surface.

Firefighters eventually rescued both teens with neither suffering serious injury.

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“Simply put no ice is safe ice, especially during this time of year when we see repeated thawing of ice surfaces,” said deputy fire Chief Dave Upper.

Click to play video: 'Kingston Fire issues warning after 5 people fall through Lake Ontario ice' Kingston Fire issues warning after 5 people fall through Lake Ontario ice
Kingston Fire issues warning after 5 people fall through Lake Ontario ice – Feb 15, 2021

“Freezing water poses serious risk, even for strong swimmers, and it can take just minutes for hypothermia to set in and impede individuals’ ability to swim or maintain consciousness.”

Temperatures are on the rise this week with both Niagara Region and Hamilton potentially reaching the high-teens by Wednesday, according to Environment Canada.

Both areas are expecting a mix of sun and cloud and around 18 C.

Read more: National survey finds employers ‘optimistic’ about hiring climate in Hamilton

Last week, Hamilton police’s marine unit issued a release outlining the dangers of the ice shelves that have built up on the Lake Ontario beach strip.

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“Though they may be picturesque, these large ice formations are extremely dangerous,” said Const. Rob Young in a Twitter post on March 3.

“The uneven terrain and jagged ice formations can cause serious injury, the hidden cavities could collapse and one could easily fall into the icy water.”

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