Fishermen rescued from Upper Saranac Lake ice

SARANAC LAKE – Emergency crews rescued four men from the ice on Upper Saranac Lake this afternoon.

Two of the men were ice fishing when they went through the ice, and the other two men came to their aid, according to Saranac Lake Fire Chief Brendan Keough. Three of them went into the water, he said.

Keough believes the two ice fishermen spent a significant amount of time in the water before the other men pulled them out. All four were on the ice when rescuers arrived to help them ashore.

“I don’t have their whole story,” Keough said. “They had a rope tied to a tree, and they used that rope somehow to self-rescue and help the other guys get up on the ice shelf.”

He estimated the men were about 50 to 75 yards from the lake’s western shoreline near Moss Rock Road.

The fire department received a call reporting the men through the ice at 1:55 p.m.

Three of the men were walked off the ice, and one was dragged. Keough said the rescuers wore special suits that keep them warm and buoyant in the water. The fire department also used a hovercraft to shuttle supplies and people to the men.

One of the men was very cold and in bad shape, according to Keough.

The men were taken to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake, Keough said.

Sixteen members of the Saranac Lake Fire Department responded. The state police, state Department of Environmental Conservation and Tupper Lake dive team also responded.

Area ice has been melting and breaking up for weeks. It generally isn’t considered safe to go on the ice now.

“It was ice, but the ice was very soft,” Keough said.