Three Sledders Break Through Dangerously Thin Ice

Ossipee — February 11, 2008 — The weekend was a hot one for ice rescue teams, with three snowmobilers dropping into two of the areas largest lakes as officials warned ice is “extremely unsafe and unpredictable.”

A Massachusetts father and son motoring to an ice fishing hole early Saturday morning had the surface of Ossipee Lake fall out from underneath them. Peter Kennen, 51, and son Peter, 20, were fished out by friends, one of whom also momentarily slipped though deceptively thin ice, the fire chief said.

One of the men went under twice and spent about 15 minutes in the water, said West Ossipee Fire Chief Brad Eldridge. Eldridge said both victims, who were on the same sled when it sank, were OK after being treated for hypothermia at Huggins Hospital.

In Madison, just after 4 p.m. also on Saturday, an alleged drunken operator dumped his sled to the bottom of Silver Lake off the shore near Chick’s Packaging. Ryan Hazard, 24, of Eaton, was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated and illegal skimming — a daredevil maneuver in which a rider opens the throttle to plow the metal machine over open water.

After Hazard didn’t make it, police say they came upon the wet man being led to a Medstar ambulance by town fire and rescue personnel.

“The officer felt he was under the influence,” said Police Chief Jamie Mullen. “Apparently he went through the ice as a result of skimming.

With all the year’s freezing and warming, followed by pounding snowfalls which insulate soft ice from freezing winds, the thickness is as unsure as ever.

“I’ve been snowmobiling there my whole life and I never thought the ice would be that thin,” Eldridge said. “I say the ice is extremely unsafe.”

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