A 41-year-old ice fisherman died after plunging through a frozen pond with his brother in New York, rangers said.
In a press release, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said that a dog-walker witnessed two brothers falling through the thin ice of Basswood Pond in Otsego County, New York and immediately called 911.
Forest ranger Nate Laymon was on a trail just one minute away from the pond when he received news of the brother’s fall into the frigid pond.
Laymon said in a video posted on the department’s social media that upon arrival he quickly located the older 42-year-old brother, who was treading water and looking for his younger brother.
The ranger said that he gingerly slid himself out onto the paper thin ice that was approximately 1 inch thick.
Upon reaching the elder brother, he used a throw bag and a rope to help the man out of the water.
“He eventually grabbed the rope and I pulled him up on the ice and I coached him to kick his feet,” Laymon said.
Laymon dragged the man, who was suffering from hypothermia, ashore and used a sled to transport him to members of the Edmeston Fire Department.
After rescuing the first brother, Laymon turned his attention to searching for the second brother who was still lost in the freezing pond.
“I just started scanning the water. I started looking through the water to see what I could see, and I saw a red, white and black reflective coat, and I was like, yeah, that’s got to be the guy,” Laymon said.
“And then eventually I saw the words Polaris because he was wearing a snowmobile jacket,” Laymon said.
At 3:05 p.m., Laymon located the younger brother, who was 41-years-old, in seven to eight feet of water.
“I got a hold of the guy and brought him up to the surface,” Laymon said. “Just trying to get him out and over the ice shelf was a big problem. At that point, I was getting tired.”
Other rescuers assisted Laymon to pull the submerged man out of the water and onto the shore.
EMT immediately began CPR on the man and eventually transported both brothers to the local hospital.
While the older brother was treated and released, the younger one was declared dead later that night.
Laymond said that everyone involved did a “fantastic job,” saying that he was proud that they gave the other brother a “fighting chance” to survive the incident.
“Everyone that was involved with that rescue did a fantastic job,” Laymond said. “We all did the best we could, and we saved one, and we gave the other one a fighting chance.”
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