London Fire Brigade

Firefighters in ice warning after three rescued from London lakes

21 January 2013

Firefighters from the London Fire Brigade are warning people to stay off the ice after they were called to rescue two men yesterday who had fallen through frozen lakes to rescue their dogs. Meanwhile, crews also rescued a child who was stuck on his sledge in the middle of a frozen lake.

With the cold weather set to continue for another few days at least, fire chiefs are warning people to take care. Jim Knighton, the Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Operational Procedures, said:

“To put it bluntly, it’s extremely fortunate we weren’t faced with a fatality yesterday. If people fall into an icy lake, hypothermia will quickly set in and they won’t survive for very long.

“People with dogs, should keep them on a lead and keep a close eye on them. It’s so easy for dogs to run off and end up in difficulty as we saw in London yesterday. If a pet ends up in trouble, call 999 and stay put, rather than attempting to rescue it yourself.

“Parents should also talk to their children about the dangers of going on the ice. Ice may look sturdy enough to stand on but it usually isn’t and easily breaks.”

At around midday yesterday (Sunday 20 January) firefighters were called to rescue a man who had fallen into the lake on Regents Park, after his dog plunged into the frozen lake and vanished. Firefighters used specialist rescue equipment to rescue the man from the freezing water but unfortunately there was no sign of the dog. The man was treated by ambulance crews for shock and hypothermia.

The second incident also happened at just before midday yesterday and involved a child who’d been out enjoying the snow on his sledge in West Drayton, in Uxbridge UB11. It’s thought he was going so quickly he overshot barriers and ended up stranded on his sledge in the middle of a frozen lake. Fire crews used specialist lines and ropes to pull him to safety and he was checked over on the scene by London Ambulance Service crews.

The third incident happened last night, at 8.34pm, when firefighters were called to reports of a man in the lake at Alexandra Palace Park in north London. It’s thought the man entered the lake after his dog went onto the frozen lake. After rescuing the man, the firefighters rescued the dog from an island in the middle of the lake. The man was treated by London Ambulance Service crews at the scene but it’s not thought the dog was injured.

When rescuing people from lakes and ponds, firefighters use specialist rescue equipment, including dry suits, inflatable boats, inflatable mud paths, lines, and ropes.

At the end of last week, firefighters reminded Londoners to take care in their homes, following two serious fires that were caused by people taking extreme measures to keep warm.

ENDS