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Coast Guard Examining Pollution Risk after Truck Falls through the Ice

January 31, 2014

The U.S. Coast Guard and representatives from local emergency response agencies responded to the scene of a truck that fell through the ice, Friday morning, near Catawba Island in western Lake Erie. 

Two people were in the truck when it broke through the ice, but they were able to escape and get to shore before the truck completely fell through the ice.

At about 10 a.m., a watchstander at Coast Guard Station Marblehead, Ohio, received a call from a dispatcher at the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, who was relaying a report originally received by the Catawba Island Township Police Department that a truck was falling through the ice. The vehicle reportedly fell through the ice about a quarter mile north of Catawba Island near the Miller Ferry Boat Lines.

An ice rescue team from Station Marblehead was nearby, on Ohio Route 2 near the Thomas Edison Bridge, and taking part in a motorcade to pay tribute to two fallen Toledo firefighters when they got the call to respond. They drove to the scene, which was about four miles south of their location.

Once on scene, the rescue team responded on foot to ensure the two men were alright and confirm there was no one else on the ice or in the water.

The temperatures were in the upper 20s at the time of the incident. Two pollution investigators from Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Toledo, Ohio, also responded.

“If you do venture out on the ice, exercise extreme caution,” said Lt. James Long, chief of response at MSU Toledo. “We also want people to remain vigilant to the ever-changing weather and ice conditions as these two men were very lucky not to have fallen through the ice with their truck," said Long.

"The truck did have fuel in the tank so there a pollution risk, but the Coast Guard will do everything we can to minimize the pollution risk as we await the salvage plan from the vehicle's owner," said Long.

The Coast Guard and other first responders advise people to remember the acronym I.C.E. when it comes to ice safety, and when planning to venture out on the frozen lakes.

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