BECKWITH TOWNSHIP – Two Lanark County men spent New Year’s Day in the drink after falling through the ice on Mississippi Lake.

“The Lanark County Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has a message for everyone after a close call on Mississippi Lake, near Carleton Place,” OPP media relations coordinator Bill Dickson released in a statement Jan. 2. “Please stay off the ice unless you are absolutely certain of its thickness.”

On Jan. 1, shortly before 8 p.m., the Lanark OPP, OPP Emergency Response Team (ERT), Beckwith Fire Department, Drummond/North Elmsley Tay Valley Fire Rescue and Lanark County Paramedics responded to a report two people had fallen through the ice near the 9th Line of Beckwith Township.

A 26-year-old male had managed to pull himself out,” Dickson said. “A 57-year-old male had attempted to climb onto the ice several times, only to fall through again. He was trapped in the water, with the other male struggling to prevent the victim from going under.”

While Beckwith Firefighters utilized a rescue boat, OPP ERT members had their Remotely Piloted Aerial System (drone) hovering above the site to provide a spotlight. Firefighters brought the 57-year-old to shore and he was transported to hospital by paramedics. Both men will recover from their ordeal.

“While the ice may look tempting for ice fishing or other activities, PLEASE make the safe decision to stay off,” Dickson said. “The temperatures have been erratic this winter and most ice is not thick enough to safety support people, much less snow mobiles. Don’t put your own life, and the lives of first responders at risk.”

If you do venture out, proper use of safety equipment can reduce the risks of traveling over ice covered bodies of water. Possibilities include: wearing of survival suits, carrying picks (used to grip ice to pull yourself out of the water) and carrying a rescue rope.

For further information on ice safety from the Royal Lifesaving Society, visit: http://www.lifesaving.ca/main.php?lang=english&cat=watersafety&sub=ice.