(NEW YORK) — One brother is dead while the other managed to survive after the siblings plunged into a freezing cold pond while ice fishing, authorities say.
The incident occurred on Saturday at approximately 2:45 p.m. in the town of Burlington in Ostego County, New York, when a man walking his dog alerted the authorities after seeing two ice fishermen fall through the ice on Basswood Pond, approximately 14 miles west of Cooperstown, according to a statement released by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
“Forest Ranger Laymon was at the Jacobs Road trailhead one minute away from the pond,” officials said. “Ranger Laymon saw one of the men treading water, but lost sight of the other. The ice was approximately one-inch thick, unsafe for fishing.”
Ranger Laymon then entered the ice and managed to crawl toward the two brothers – aged 41 and 42 – and was able to pull the 42-year-old man from Richfield Springs out of the water by using a throw bag.
“The subject grabbed the rope and Ranger Layman pulled him onto a sled,” the DEC said. “At 2:55 p.m., the Ranger pulled the sled to shore where he was met by members of the Edmeston Fire Department, who used their truck to start the drying and warming process to help the subject suffering from hypothermia.”
Officials said that Ranger Laymon immediately returned to the scene of the accident to search for the second brother.
“At 3:05 p.m., Ranger Laymon located the 41-year-old from Richfield Springs in seven to eight feet of water,” said the DEC in their statement. “New York State Police, Otsego County Emergency Services, and Edmeston, Fly Creek, Schuyler Lake, and West Edmeston volunteer fire departments helped pull Ranger Laymon and the submerged man out of the water and onto shore.”
The younger brother was transferred over to EMTs at approximately 3:23 p.m. as medics immediately began CPR in an attempt to revive the man.
Both brothers were taken to the hospital where the 42-year-old was treated and released. The younger brother, however, was declared deceased by the hospital later on Saturday night.
The New York State DEC issued a warning to others interested in ice fishing following the tragic accident.
“Before leaving shore, ice anglers are advised to check the thickness of ice. Four inches of solid, clear ice is usually safe for anglers accessing ice on foot. However, ice thickness can vary between waterbodies and even within the same waterbody, increasing the need to ensure thickness,” authorities said.
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