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Cell phone call helps save snowmobile riders after fall through Winnipesaukee ice
By DAN SEUFERT
Sunday New Correspondent
Published Feb 11, 2012 at 10:29 pm (Updated Feb 11, 2012) ShareThis
ALTON A cell phone may have saved the lives of two snowmobilers who went through thin ice in the middle of Lake Winnipesaukee Saturday night.
The two men were rescued from The Broads area of the lake by rescue crews from Gilford and Tuftonboro with the help of a DHART rescue helicopter and the Tuftonboro Fire Department's airboat about 9:30 p.m., according to Gilford Fire Chief Stephen Carrier.
Both men were found suffering from hypothermia having been immersed in the 35-degree lake water, Carrier said, but neither suffered serious injuries and both were taken to local hospitals for precautionary health checks.
"They both got wet, but I guess they were able to get out of the water quick enough," said Carrier, who said the men crashed into a small open area of water in the town of Alton.
Authorities received a 911 call from one of the two men at 7:54 p.m., reporting "that he was looking for a friend and could no longer see him, and that he had gone through himself," Carrier said.
The man called authorities soon after and said his phone battery was running low. Before the battery died, the man reported seeing the Tuftonboro airboat approaching.
As Tuftonboro rescue crews brought the first victim to Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro, a search by crews from several towns around the lake continued for the second man. About 9:15 p.m., Gilford crews found him walking on the ice a short distance from the other side of the open water toward Gilford.
"We're still not sure how the one victim got to the Tuftonboro side," Carrier said.
Neither rider knew that the other was safely out of the water, he said, as they both sought help in different directions. It was fortunate, Carrier said, that one of the men had a cell phone, as both were soaking wet, walking on the ice in windy, 20-degree weather.
"Without the cell phone call, we wouldn't have known they were out there," Carrier said.
The incident shows the need for taking precautions when on the ice in this warmer-than-normal winter, Carrier said,
"Obviously, this is an unusual winter, and there is open water in strange places," he said.
Edited by snorander, 12 February 2012 - 08:34 AM.