A woman stepped out onto a freezing pond in North Sea Friday morning to save a dog and fell through the ice herself — but North Sea Fire Department volunteers pulled her out of the water before the situation turned tragic.
The victim was in the frigid water of Scallop Pond up to her shoulders, about 50 feet offshore. "She was able to stand on the bottom, but she could not get herself out," North Sea Fire Chief William Rosko Jr. said.
The victim had been with two other women, walking a group of about 15 dogs, Rosko said. "When they let the dogs out to run here, one of the dogs went out onto the ice, and when she went to get the dog out, she became a victim."
One of the other dog walkers called 911.
"The call came in at 8:31, and the two chiefs were on scene within seven minutes," Rosko said. "Our first heavy rescue unit, with ice rescue personnel, was on scene within 11 minutes of the initial call."
He said two firefighters went out on the ice to get the woman out of the water — and one of them got in the water with her. "There was another dog trapped in the ice," he added. "We had another two units go get the dog."
The rescue was complete within 20 minutes of the call, Rosko said.
Rosko said the victim was not showing signs of hypothermia, though she had been in the water 15 or 20 minutes.
The rescue personnel warmed up in the back of the heavy rescue truck, and Southampton Volunteer Ambulance arrived to treat the victim, he said.
North Sea Fire Department had 30 members on scene, and Southampton Fire Department was also called in for extra personnel.
"All this water was all solid ice," Rosko said, indicating the area of the pond where the victim had fallen through. "The tide changed over probably 10 minutes after we got them out of the water, and all this ice opened up into open water. She could have got swept into the deeper water if we hadn't been so fast with getting her out."
"The police and fire department did a wonderful job," the victim said, after she was finished warming up in an ambulance and getting dry. She did not give her name.