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Troopers rescue ice fishermen who fell through Steuben County lake

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New York State Police rescued two ice fishermen who fell through thin ice in Wayland, Steuben County on Wednesday morning. (Photo: New York State Police)

(WHAM) - New York State Police rescued two ice fishermen who fell through thin ice in Wayland, Steuben County on Wednesday morning.

Troopers were called to Loon Lake around 11:30 a.m. for the report of the fishermen in the water.

According to police, a 20-year-old man was fishing at an ice shanty on the lake when his 49-year-old stepfather fell through. When troopers arrived, the man was holding onto his stepfather but could not pull him out of the water.

The first trooper on scene, Matt McKinney, drove to a boat launch close by, got a life vest from a restaurant at the boat launch, and pulled rope from his patrol car. Three more troopers then arrived on scene and were able to procure a ladder from the restaurant.

"I was just in the right place at the right time," said McKinney.

Working together, the troopers tied three ropes together, fastening one end to the waist of Trooper Matthew McKinney. McKinney then carried the ladder to keep himself from completely falling through the ice. After reaching the end of the rope, McKinney walked out another 100-150 feet to reach the two fishermen, eventually placing the ladder on the ice for the man to pull his stepfather from the water.

"This was definitely a rescue mission which could have quickly turned into the recovery of that gentleman. If he got underneath that ice, it would’ve been a completely different scenario," said Jeremy Hagadone, a New York State Police investigator.

After eventually rolling his stepfather onto the ladder, McKinney worked with the other fisherman to use the ladder as a make-shift stretcher and pulled the men back.

Fire department personnel were waiting at the shoreline and brought the two men ashore, taking the stepfather to Noyes Memorial Hospital by ambulance to be treated for exposure.

State Police said they want to reminder people that the current weather conditions are not suitable for ice fishing or other ice-related activities.

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