PASADENA, Md. (WJZ)– This winter has given Maryland some of the lowest temperatures on record followed by periods of mild weather. The roller coaster conditions have also created a hazard on the waters. Authorities are warning people to avoid it.
According to Maryland’s Natural Resources Police, every year they have to rescue people who think the ice is safe enough to walk on, skate on or fish and it’s not.
Rescue crews have had there hands full lately. From the Chesapeake Bay, where a duck hunter was trapped in ice water Tuesday morning, to the Patapsco River, where a kayaker went overboard last week.
“An officer on a boat got to him, pulled him out of the water and onto the boat,” said Captain Brian Rathgeb of the Maryland Natural Resources Police.
He suffered a broken hand and hypothermia, after spending 40 minutes in below-freezing water.
“We have had extreme cold snaps that we’re not necessarily used to in Maryland,” Captain Rathgeb said.
Captain Rathgeb says ice needs to be at least four inches thick in order to be safe.
“The thawing and the refreezing, it leads to a lot of the integrity of the ice, is compromised and if snow is covering it, you can’t see holes in it,” he said.
Over the weekend, an ice fisherman was below the Daniels Dam. Some of his items were found, but he hasn’t been seen since.
The Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company is training for possible ice rescues.
“People sometimes don’t make the right decisions and attempt to go out on things like this when it’s not so safe,” said Captain Scott Goldstein of the Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company.
Crews also who responded to Loch Raven Reservoir, after kids were spotted playing on the ice.
“Always assume that anytime you step on the ice, there’s a chance that it is going to break,” Capt. Rathgeb said.
Officials say if you choose to get out on the ice, even though it is not recommended, you should tell someone your plan, bring a cellphone in case of an emergency, as well as a tool to help you pull out from the ice.
If you see anybody that goes through the ice, the first thing you should do is call 911.