iStock/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) — Firefighters in northwestern Washington raced against the clock Wednesday afternoon to save two teenage boys who fell through an icy lake.
The teens, both 15, had apparently walked out to the middle of Lake Serene near Lynnwood, Washington, when the ice broke and the boys fell into the cold water, according to a news release from Snohomish County Fire District 1.
Someone immediately called 911 for help, and a rescue team responded to the scene “within minutes,” the fire department wrote in the release. The boys “were about 150 feet from the shore when firefighters arrived,” the fire department added.
It was “certainly a long way to be from shore,” firefighter David Erickson told ABC affiliate KOMO-TV in Seattle.
One of the teens managed to climb out of the water and make it back to shore safely, Erickson said.
The other teen was not able to get out on his own, and he was in icy water for “at least 30 minutes before he was rescued,” according to the news release.
That teen “had some hypothermia and couldn’t get out,” Erickson told KOMO. “He needed assistance with even the simplest of tasks, from getting the life jacket on to getting on the rescue board.”
Erickson added that it is “very difficult to survive out there in street clothes and boots.”
Pamela Penning, an 84-year-old woman who lives in a home on the lake, witnessed the rescue and captured several photos.
“Of course you can’t get very far and fast on ice and in freezing water, so it was painfully slow and agonizing to watch,” Penning told ABC News Thursday. She added that she was impressed by the rescue operation, “which was so efficiently and carefully done.”
Once both teens were ashore, they were transported to a nearby medical center, according to the fire department’s news release. Health privacy laws prevented the department from releasing additional information on the boys’ conditions, the news release said.
Erickson told KOMO he hopes the rescue story is a lesson not to play on frozen lakes and ponds.
“It’s deceptive near the shore” where the ice is thickest, he said, adding that the ice gets thinner as you go further into the center of the lake.
Leslie Hynes, public information officer for the fire department, said that the teens were “very fortunate.”
“Even though temperatures here have been below freezing for several days, the ice on our lakes and ponds doesn’t get thick enough for anyone to safely walk across it,” Hynes said in the fire department’s release.
“We’ve had fatalities in the past and we urge everyone to stay off the ice,” she added.
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