‘Screaming for help’: People reportedly skating near Toronto Islands rescued after falling through ice

Click to play video: 'Police warns others after rescuing 3 people who fell through the ice near Toronto’s Hanlan’s Point'
Police warns others after rescuing 3 people who fell through the ice near Toronto’s Hanlan’s Point
The TPS Marine Unit says three people are lucky to be alive after falling through the ice near Hanlan’s Point. Kayla McLean reports – Feb 6, 2023

Two people who were reportedly skating near the Toronto Islands Monday morning had to be rescued after they fell through the ice, police say, while a third person who tried to help them also had to be saved.

Toronto police said they were called just after 8:30 a.m. for reports of three people in the water of Lake Ontario near Hanlan’s Point.

Const. Stacy Kellough from the Toronto police Marine Unit said a bystander from the shore made the call and emergency crews immediately responded, with police dispatching a rescue vessel.

“We located the persons all in the water, nobody wearing a lifejacket, hanging on to some broken ice and screaming for help,” she said.

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“Our officers immediately entered the water with our rescue equipment and the training that we have for ice rescue and were able to swim to the three persons, pull them onto our safety equipment, pull them onto shore where they were then later transported to the hospital and treated for hypothermic conditions.”

Const. Laura Brabant said two people were reportedly skating on the ice and fell through first, when the third person went to help them, but had to be rescued as well.

Toronto paramedics told Global News the three adults were taken to local hospital in serious but non-life-threatening condition.

They’re expected to recover.

Kellough said they were “extremely lucky” to be found as fast as they were, noting it could have been a “very tragic event.”

She said while there was a flash freeze last week, it wasn’t long enough to make the ice thick, adding that “no ice is safe ice.”

Environment Canada is also forecasting above-freezing high temperatures throughout much of the week.

“The ice is extremely thin on all bodies of water,” Kellough said.

“These people here today were holding on to a thin layer of ice and it doesn’t take long before your body can’t survive anymore, or if that ice was to break free they would have went straight down. It’s about 20 feet deep in the area that they were located today.”

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She said without any protection, a person who hits cold water can go into shock, possibly ingest some of the water and sink in less than a minute.

Police, fire and paramedics implored people to stay off frozen bodies of water.

Kellough said if someone must go onto the ice, they should wear a life jacket on top of their winter gear.

She noted that just over the weekend, police had numerous calls for people out on the ice.

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