From spring to snow this week, officials warn dangers of icy ponds

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INDIANAPOLIS (March 10, 2014) — As the temperatures warm up, ice is melting in ponds all across Central Indiana. It was a close call for neighbors on the southwest side Saturday after three children fell through ice at a nearby retention pond.

Heather Sanders came home to hear neighbors screaming for help.

“Everything happened so quick,” said Sanders. “We see kids out here all the time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to tell kids to get off the pond.”

Indiana conservation officers said an 11-year-old boy was able to pull himself out. Another neighbor jumped in for the two other boys.

Heather fractured her arm while running to shore, but was able to bring one of the boys home. Others grabbed things like hoses and a pull-broom to grab the last child out.

“We thought [one of the boys] was dead because all you could see was his jacket. He was just floating,” she said. “[The neighbor] had the broom in the little boy’s hand. He was so unconscious he couldn’t even grab the broom.”

Capt. Rita Reith with the Indianapolis Fire Department said these situations are dangerous for everyone, even for trained rescue teams. Hypothermia can hit within seconds. There’s also challenges of cutting through ice to get to a victim.

“We have had the warm temperatures, then the cold temperatures. We’ve got the freezing and refreezing,” said Reith. “The motto is no ice is safe ice. Most waterways look very pretty from the surface. It’s what’s under it that you don’t see that can grab you.”

The boys’ families told FOX59 they’re doing fine. One of the boys was taken to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health for observation, but was released on Sunday. 

The family took time to deliver flowers and thank you cards for all the neighbors who pitched in to help.

“I hugged that little boy. Just to feel him breathe gave me comfort,” Sanders said. “You treat your neighbor like family.”

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