Monday, February 05, 2007

Balloon crew on thin ice

Balloon crew caught on thin ice

By Jennifer Dyck
Feb 05 2007

News that a vehicle had fallen through the ice on Swan Lake sent Search and
Rescue, RCMP, ambulance and fire crews racing to the scene Friday.

No one was injured during the ordeal, yet instead of leaving the area
feeling like heroes, the emergency crews left feeling a little annoyed.

As it turned out, no one had fallen through the ice.

"We just got stuck," said Kendra Michaud, who was driving the van that
someone mistook for falling through the ice.

Michaud was on the lake with several other vehicles who were all part of the
crew for the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta for Winter Carnival.

But knowing that the ice is unsafe right now, from their view on the Old
Kamloops Road side of Swan Lake, a few residents feared someone had fallen
through the ice. So better to be safe than sorry, they called 9-1-1.

Vernon RCMP Const. Tory Romailler says the situation is an important
reminder to residents to be wary before heading out on any lake in the

"We certainly recommend that they take caution in going out on it."

Pete Wise, SAR manager and flat ice rescue instructor, also stresses the
importance of caution, being prepared by carrying throw bags and testing the
ice for a minimum four-inch thickness.

"This lake has always been a nightmare for us. People just don't think.

"You can get yourself in a lot of trouble out there.

So he advises: "If you're unsure, stay off."

As for the hot air balloon crews on the ice, "they just really put
themselves in a terrible situation," said Wise.

"If the ice had cracked, they wouldn't have just had one, they would have
had all three vehicles in."

Dennis Freier lives on the lake at the Swan Lake RV Park and says anyone who
lives nearby knows not to go on the ice right now.

"When it cracks, it cracks fast.

"The other day a guy was out there ice fishing and heard it crack and just
dropped his line and ran.

"That's why you don't see anybody out here right now because it's not safe
right now."

No comments: