GNES rescue a deer from icy waters of Hay Bay

Greater Napanee Emergency Services practice an ice rescue. File photo.

Adam Prudhomme

Greater Napanee Emergency Services firefighters closed out 2021 with a unique call on Friday, rescuing a deer that had fallen through the ice on Hay Bay.

GNES chief John Koenig was first on the scene after receiving a call from a concerned resident who spotted the deer. Under normal circumstances deer are actually quite strong swimmers but Koenig soon determined the doe was in need of assistance.

“It was going out further from shore and was sort of breaking through the ice,” said GNES’ Kevin Duncan. “(The chief) said it was really starting to struggle so we took the rescue down and a couple guys went out in the (ice water rescue) suits. By the time they got to the deer it was about 600 feet out.”

Fortunately the crew had just enough rope in their kit to reach the deer.

“They struggled to get a hold of the deer, they got her and we pulled them to shore,” said Duncan. “When we let her go off the shore we were hoping she wasn’t going to run back into the ice, but she didn’t. She took off towards the road and she was struggling a bit because she was obviously exhausted but she was fine, no worse for wear.”

Though this rescue had a happy ending, the event should also serve as a grim reminder of just how dangerous going out on ice can be. That reminder is particularly poignant this time of year as weather can fluctuate from -17 to four degrees above zero in a matter of hours.

“No ice is safe ice and all the other clichés, but if you’re not sure just don’t risk it,” said Duncan. “It’s not worth it. You’re not only putting yourself at risk but also the people that have to try to come out and rescue you too.”

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