Officials say Monday’s accident at Moraine State Park is not common, but it should serve as an unfortunate reminder of the dangers of going out on the ice on any body of water, including Lake Arthur.
Chris Calhoun is a Butler County Community College Parks and Recreation professor and a lead water rescue instructor.
“There is absolutely no such things as safe ice,” Calhoun said in an interview Tuesday.
According to Calhoun, there are many factors that influence the strength of ice and the thickness of ice. Those factors include temperature, wind, current, sun, water and snow on the surface, structures in the water (including bridges that have salt drain onto the ice below) and underwater springs.
“We live in western Pennsylvania where the temperatures go up and down rapidly,” he said. “And, when ice forms, it does not form in a uniform manner.”
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission recommends a minimum of four inches of clear ice before someone ventures out. Calhoun suggests always wearing a personal flotation device and to never go out on the ice alone.
If ice begins to crack, you’re advised to immediately lay down and crawl back in the direction that you just came from. If you witness someone fall through the ice, call 911 immediately and provide location information as best you can.