Campers rescued from Big Tupper Lake

TUPPER LAKE – Two campers were rescued Sunday afternoon after getting stuck on Big Tupper Lake.

The two teens were camping on an island over the weekend, and when they tried to come back to shore in a rowboat, they got stranded on the ice.

“They were told to come home because of the weather,” said Royce Cole, second assistant chief of the Tupper Lake Volunteer Fire Department.

They were heading home in a rowboat with no motor when they got caught on ice in a channel in the area of Bluff Island, Cole said.

The boys called 911 with a cell phone from the boat.

“We were in contact with them the whole time,” Cole said.

The Tupper Lake Dive Team, rescue squad and fire department responded to the report at 4:41 p.m. Sunday. They showed up to the parking lot of Trails End bar on state Route 30.

“They were quite a ways from where we were stationed,” Cole said.

Emergency crews didn’t have a boat available to them – the only rescue boat in Tupper Lake cannot be used in ice – so the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department was called in at 5:25 p.m. They brought a boat which was launched off a dock on Raquette River Drive.

“Our rescue boat was delayed somewhat getting out there due to the ice breaking off, and (we) had to maneuver around it,” Cole said.

Once the rescue boat got near the teens, rescuers had trouble getting close enough to them, so one of the teens jumped in the water and grabbed a rope being extended to them.

“He was only about waist-deep,” Cole said.

The teens were brought back to shore uninjured, though they were cold.

Cole said the whole operation took well over an hour.

A state Department of Environmental Conservation forest ranger also responded to the incident.

“We appreciate all the assistance from Saranac Lake and DEC and EMS and dive team,” Cole said.

Enterprise Senior Staff Writer Chris Knight contributed to this report.