Edmontonians are being warned to stay off the ice on the North Saskatchewan River after a dog fell into the water over the weekend and didn’t resurface.
On Sunday afternoon, firefighters were called to the river near Kinsmen Sports Centre by a bystander who saw a brown, medium-sized dog in the water.
Rescue crews staged on top of the High Level Bridge to get a better visual of the animal, while two rescue boats went into the water near the Kinsmen.
While the bystander kept their eye on the dog, fire captain Aaron Miller said by the time firefighters arrived, it was too late to save the animal.
“The dog was floating down towards the Walterdale Bridge,” he said Monday afternoon.
“By the time we’d gotten to the river’s edge, the dog had slipped under the ice shelf,” he said. “There was very little open water after that and the dog was unable to resurface.”
Miller said while the river may look frozen solid, there are many areas where the ice is very thin. He urged everyone to keep themselves and their pets safe by not going on the ice of any river or storm pond.
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“It may seem that the river will look frozen or a storm pond will look frozen, but there may be weak points that someone could fall through,” he said.
“The North Saskatchewan River is powerful and deceptive, fast-moving. It’s never safe to walk on the ice at all at any point, even if you think it’s very thick ice.”
Ice safety reminders during a warm winter
Miller said not only does going on the ice put people in danger, it’s also risky for the first responders who come to their rescue.
“We don’t have to go on the ice and we don’t have to put ourselves in danger as well,” he said.
“Stay off the ice and everybody will be a lot safer.”
Anyone who sees a person or animal fall into the water is asked to call 911 and keep an eye on the person or pet, and track them as they drift through the water until first responders arrive.
“It’s very important to help the rescue responders if you can keep a visual of the person or the pet to make sure that when we get on scene that you can point out exactly where the last known spot of the patient or the pet was or keep track of them as they’re floating down the river,” Miller said.
Miller said fire crews could not find the owner of the dog that fell through the ice on Sunday, but he added it appeared the dog was wearing a collar.
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