Photo courtesy of Capital City Fire Rescue
Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – Firefighters in the capital responded to the Mendenhall Glacier late Tuesday morning after reporting that a man fell through the lake’s ice.
We spoke to Deputy Chef Ed Quinto who was one of those who responded. He said the man called the dispatcher and asked for help. Apparently he fell in the water up to his knees, according to the chief. The man tried to exit but told the dispatcher that he could not return. The four-wheeled department staff went to the lake to perform the rescue. “It was dangerous not only for the victim but also for our rescuers,” said the chief.
The man made several mistakes, according to the firefighter. First of all, he was alone. The chief said he shouldn’t have been there alone. Second, the man was too close to the glacier where the ice was very thin. There was evidence that the ice was extremely unstable because there was water on the ice, indicating that there may have been recent calving. There were no other trails leading to the glacier, which should have indicated to the man that he should not venture there. Also, the temperature in the parking lot was below zero so the chef estimates it was minus ten on the glacier with a wind chill of minus 30.
“He was very lucky to be able to go out on his own and make a phone call so we could go out. Otherwise, that would have been a different story.”
The chef reminds people not to go out even in this cold weather as the ice is still unstable and they recommend not to go out on the ice.