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Officials warn people to stay off the ice after daring rescue

By Sandra Yi | Posted - Feb. 17, 2014 at 7:07 p.m.

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GRANTSVILLE — Authorities are warning people to stay off the ice after a daring rescue Sunday that showed just how dangerous the conditions are right now.

Sunday afternoon, two 13-year old boys from Magna were playing on a chunk of ice in the Grantsville Reservoir that drifted about 200 feet away from shore. Rescue swimmers from the North Tooele and Grantsville Fire Departments reached the teens, strapped them to floating boards and pulled them safely back to shore.

“To be able to stay up on the ice, that ice was strong enough to hold them, I think they dodged a bullet on that one,” said Zach Cash, an ice rescue specialist for the North Tooele Fire District.

Dressed in a drysuit, Cash swam 200 meters to reach the teenage boys.

“The wind was also blowing against me, so it was rough,” Cash said.

The rescue took about 45 minutes and involved strapping the teens to floating boards and pulling them back to shore.

Cash trains for ice rescues once a year.

“This is the worst time of year for ice incidents to occur,” he said.

Authorities say that warmer temperatures and recent rainfall have weakened the ice. The consistency isn’t the same either, and all it takes is a gust of wind to move it.

“People don’t realize the wind can blow an entire ice field 200 feet in one direction or the other,” Cash said.

Authorities said if you are going out on the ice, one thing to look for is standing water. That’s a sign that the ice sheet is starting to degrade.


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