Three people were rescued from the river by the Prince Albert Fire Department over the weekend, sparking the city to issue a notice to stay off the fragile river ice.
The first incident took place at 2:15 p.m. Saturday. An adult was found on the ice in distress. Hypothermia caused his/her legs to be immobile.
Firefighters conducted an ice rescue. The person was treated by paramedics and transferred to the Victoria Hospital.
Fire crews were called back to the ice near the Diefenbaker Bridge Sunday at 9:30 p.m. for a report of a person falling through the ice.
When crews arrived, they found two people on the river. Both were wet and could not get out of the water on their own.
Monday, CTV Saskatoon reported that the Saskatoon Fire Department was searching the river after a report of a man in the river.
Unfortunately, this time of year, these incidents are common.
“(People) go out there for whatever reason, and then passerby see them and phone us, so we go and get them,” said Prince Albert Fire Department deputy chief Corey Rodgers.
“I think the snow is starting to melt, and they’re curious. It’s really not a good thing to be doing, because the ice is starting to become very rotten in areas, and we should be expecting it to break up soon. But people still go out there, whether they’re curious or for other reasons. We hope that adults would be smarter than that, and of course, we don’t want to see children on the ice.”
On Monday, at noon, the city issued a press release warning residents to stay clear of ice surfaces, especially around the river and drainage channels.
“The river, storm ponds or drainage channels may look like they are safe, but a moving body of water is never completely frozen,” said Jason Everitt, Fire Chief for the Prince Albert Fire Department in the press release.
“As temperatures rise due to seasonal changes, ice surfaces deteriorate and become highly unstable and unpredictable. To venture out onto rotten ice surfaces is a recipe for disaster and could result in loss of life. If you break through the ice surface, you could succumb to hypothermia or be pulled under the ice sheet.”
If someone falls into the ice, the rapid onset of hypothermia could prevent them from rescuing themselves. That may result in drowning.