When Matt Connors of Trout Lake Marina noticed that their family dog had wondered out onto the ice and broken through in an area which had just recently frozen over that night, he quickly grabbed a canoe and began his rescue attempt. Neighbours tell SaultOnline that he walked the canoe out to the area where the ice had given away, boarded the canoe and proceeded to fish the dog from the frigid water.
Having gotten considerably wet during the process of pulling the dog from the now open water into the canoe, and with temperatures around -15 degrees Celsius, Matt soon found himself without the energy to make it back to shore. All he could do was attempt to keep the friend calm while they lay in the canoe and call out for help.
Matt’s wife was quick to call authorities for help and even attempted to use a kayak to get out to the canoe, but soon realized that it wasn’t going to work, a neighbour told SaultOnline. Mark and Sylvia Nott found out about the events unfolding when a woman cleaning a nearby house knocked at the door frantically asking if they had a long rope. “By the time I got out the door, the OPP raced by…” said Mark Nott. Sylvia Nott told SaultOnline that she could see that Aweres Volunteer Fire Dept. was on scene and OPP officers were now out at the end of a dock. OPP officers could be heard talking to Matt, attempting to comfort him by advising help was on the way.
The Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services had been contacted for assistance and were soon on scene with their Hazmat Air Boat but… “were unable to launch it”, said Mark Nott. Sylvia Nott told SaultOnline that “three rescuers with long poles made their way cautiously across the ice, grabbed the front of the canoe and pulled it back to shore.”
Matt was taken to hospital where he was to be treated for signs of hypothermia while their family friend recovered in a nice warm home from the whole ordeal.
As of Saturday morning, the area lake where the dog had went through the ice still hadn’t frozen over again, most likely due to warmer temperatures moving in. Although winter hit the area quite early this year, a roller coaster of cold and warmer temperatures has yet to let area lakes freeze with ice thick enough to support much weight. Most of Trout Lake had been open water the evening prior, having only frozen over that night with a thin layer of ice. Please use caution around area lakes and ensure both children and pets stay off forming ice.