First Responders Spotlight: Fisherman stuck on floating ice island rescued in Wolcott

First Responders Spotlight

WOLCOTT, NY (WROC) — State Trooper Frank DeNoto says he was dispatched to Port Bay in Wolcott over the report of a man stuck out on the ice.

“He was still standing out on the ice at that point, staying calm. I looked down, the paddle boat was sitting on the dock,” says Trooper DeNoto.

DeNoto then asked the owners to use the boat to get out there. Neighbors offering rescue rope and a kayak to transport the fisherman.

“Unfortunately we were halfway across and he tipped over in the kayak,” he says.

DeNoto then turning back and grabbing hold of him…getting him to shore. Other responders showed up to help give the man medical attention.

“He said, ‘I can’t get off the ice. I got on this morning, but it all melted with the weather,'” says John McClellan, who made the 911 call. “These guys were down here lickety-split,” he says of the troopers.

McClellan also owns the boats State Police used in the rescue. He says the man, from Canandaigua, started ice fishing alone in the cool early morning, but did not anticipate the breakaway. 

“As the water’s starting to melt away from shore, you can lose 10 to 20 feet of ice in the course of a day,” says McClellan.

Trooper Ryan Schwab is DeNoto’s partner and was on-scene keeping track of him.”(Also) helping out with the kayak and rope as much as I can, obviously his safety is just as important,” says Trooper Schwab.

Friend of First Responders Spotlight, Bill Gray’s, honored both troopers for their efforts that day in ensuring the fisherman was able to make it to safety. DeNoto reminding all, before heading out to any body of ice, keep safety in mind, head out in pairs, and check the weather, especially as winter turns to spring. 

“You want to definitely know if the ice is even safe to be out there at that point,” says DeNoto.

Various resources on-line say an ice thickness of 3 inches or less is unsafe to travel on. It’s generally accepted that at least 4 inches are needed for any kind of activity like ice fishing.

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