Southern Georgian Bay OPP along with emergency services are reminding the public that with the recent cold temperatures not as much ice may have formed as you may think. This, along with changing water conditions such as wind and water levels have created some very dangerous ice conditions that exist on Georgian Bay. The picture below taken in Penetanguishene, dated January 9, 2019 and January 10, 2019 clearly shows the differences in the ice/water surfaces that a day can make on Georgian Bay.
On January 9, 2019 near the noon hour, a 34-year old Penetanguishene man ventured onto the ice at Midland Point on his snowmobile heading for Honey Harbour. He and his machine went into open water and the driver had a near death experience saved only by his floater suit and a resident who was at home when the driver came to his door and provided life saving care along with being treated by attending Paramedics and the medical team at Georgian Bay General Hospital.
The driver survived his ordeal and emergency services personnel strongly suggest if you must go out on the ice having the proper equipment such as a floater suit, ice picks, a throw line, GPS and or cellphone are extremely important should you break through the ice surface. Responding emergency services do take time to ready and get on scene and do come at a cost as there is always a risk of injury or worse to emergency responders who may never forget the incident.
“During the transition period of water forming into ice, for emergency services, accessing persons that have fallen through ice can be extremely difficult and time consuming. The odds of a safe rescue decrease as per the difficulty of accessing those who have fallen through the ice. There is no such thing as safe ice, however if you must ride across the ice, check with your local snowmobile clubs and ice hut operators beforehand.”
Quote- Brian Thomas Fire Chief/ CEMC Tay Township
Some area municipalities do have a bylaw in place with a process for full cost recovery of emergency services costs provided to the rescued persons.