Three teens escape after falling through ice on Vernon Valley Lake

Police Chief advises caution when ice fishing


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  • Photo courtesy of Vernon Police Vernon police released this photo on Facebook along with the warning to use caution whenon the ice.



BY ERIKA NORTON

Three teen boys were able to free themselves after falling through the ice on Vernon Valley Lake.

According to Vernon police, the boys — ages, 16, 16 and 14 — were ice fishing when they fell through the ice, but were able to free themselves before first responders arrived. Vernon’s 911 Center received the call at about 1 p.m. Monday.

“There was a family that lives right on the lake that helped them to shore and took them inside, gave them dry clothes until the family could arrive and the ambulance could arrive,” Vernon Police Chief Randy Mills said.

The three boys were checked by members of the Vernon Township Ambulance Squad and released to family members.

Vernon Township High School had early dismissal on Monday due to midterm exams, which is why the teens were not in school.

On the Vernon Police Facebook page, a woman identifying herself as the mother of two of the boys said her children were doing well and thanked the neighbors, the police department, fire department, and the ambulance squad for their “quick response” in making sure her boys were alright.

Ice fishingAccording to Mills, they have not seen many incidents of residents falling through the ice this winter season, fortunately.

“But this weather pattern this year has been so unique with the warm, cold, super cold, warm, and that makes the ice, you might have 10 inches in some spots and then other spots might not be safe — it depends,” Mills said. “And you get runoff from the roadways that contain salt and that can weaken the ice in spots.”

As far as safety advice for anyone planning on going ice fishing, Mills said don’t go alone, make sure you’re experienced in determining when the ice is safe, and know what to do if something goes wrong.

The New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife also has its own ice fishing safety tips:

Don't drive your car or truck on the ice.

Tell someone where you're fishing and when you plan to return.

Wear a personal flotation device.

Don't fish alone.

Carry an ice spud or chisel to check the thickness of the ice.

Bring a fully charged cell phone along.

Carry a safety line and hand spikes in case you do fall through.

Make sure heated fishing shanties have good ventilation to prevent deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. Open a window or the door part way to allow in fresh air.

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