Officers Train Below 20" of Solid Ice

SYRACUSE — Indiana Department of Natural Resources scuba divers practiced rescue and recovery operations underneath 20 inches of ice in Lake Wawasee March 5. Divers and their support staff practiced preparing for the worst case scenario, where a person falls through the ice and needs emergency assistance, DNR officials said.

The divers were well-equipped with thermal suits, full face masks complete with a built in communications system, and ropes and harnesses for the divers safety. The Indiana Conservation Officers dive team trains year round for rescuing victims who fall through the ice, recovering drowning victims, recovering evidence to crimes, and recovering motor vehicles that become submerged in the water, officials said.

This dangerous work often calls the officers away from home at all hours of the day and night to respond to various calls for service. Cpl. Jon Engle stated “We like to train for what we hope never occurs.” Cpl. Engle supervised this particular training exercise.

If in the event a person witnesses someone fall through the ice, call 911 immediately and the Indiana Conservation Officers dive team will be called to service along with local emergency response personnel. The dive team is prepared for quick responses and have trained to be dressed into their scuba gear and deployed into the water within minutes of arriving on scene.

Fisherman and those who recreate on the ice should be aware that with the warmer temperatures expected soon comes more dangerous ice conditions. Children should always be supervised while playing on the ice and adults should take necessary precautions as well to prevent falling through the ice, conservation officiers said.

Always check on ice conditions before heading out. Using augers to drill holes in the ice so it can be measured is the safest way to determine ice conditions, DNR officials said.

Indiana Conservation Officers recommend 4 inches of ice for pedestrian traffic, 5 inches for snowmobiles and four wheelers and at least 10 inches of good clear ice before operating a motor vehicle on the ice. And, officers added it is always a sound practice to wear a personal flotation device. - See more at: