Snowmobilers rescued after falling through ice on Bennett Lake

Carcross RCMP officers rescued two men who had fallen through ice on the lake’s north shore Thursday

A Trans North helicopter prepares to leave the northwestern shore of Bennett Lake with two rescued snowmobilers and a member from Whitehorse RCMP on board. (Submitted photo/Yukon RCMP)

Carcross RCMP rescued two snowmobilers last week who had fallen through the ice on Bennett Lake.

According to a Yukon RCMP press release, Carcross RCMP received a dispatch just after 2 p.m. on Jan. 10 about two men who had fallen through the ice on the north shore of Bennett Lake, near Carcross, while snowmobiling.

Two officers, equipped with winter survival and rescue gear, headed towards the scene on their snowmobiles. Within about 20 minutes, with the use of their binoculars, the officers spotted the two men in the distance.

At 2:49 p.m., the officers found the men about 30 feet from the shore, with one of them having made his way out onto the ice and the other standing on his submerged snowmobile.

Officers extended a ladder to the man still in the water, the press release says, and were able to get him to a “safe, dry area,” where they started a fire while waiting for a rescue helicopter to arrive from Whitehorse.

The officers also gave the men, who were “mildly hypothermic but conscious and alert,” sleeping bags to help them warm up. The helicopter arrived shortly after to transport them to Whitehorse General Hospital for assessment.

“This incident is an example of the reality of policing in the North. We may not tell these stories often, but our employees risk their lives to save others in situations like this on a regular basis,” Insp. Lindsay Ellis, district operations officer, said in the press release.

“I am very proud of the response from the Carcross members, and thankful for the strong assistance from the Search and Rescue Coordinator and Whitehorse Detachment, including our dispatchers. They played an important role in ensuring everyone involved in this incident remained safe.”

The press release also reminds the public that despite recent low temperatures, not all waterways in the Yukon are stable and completely frozen, and people should check the thickness of the ice and pack winter survival gear with them before heading out.

“In the winter, waterways in the Yukon become highways, especially for those heading out bison hunting, to check their trap lines, and more. This has been a reality for many years, and it will continue,” Cpl. Cam Long, the Yukon RCMP’s divisional search and rescue coordinator, said in the press release. “We’re just asking people to be mindful of the change in weather and lighter temperatures we’ve been seeing, which can greatly impact the ice thickness in areas that would traditionally be frozen solid at this time of year.”

Yukon RCMP was not able to provide an update on the men’s conditions on Jan. 14.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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