News

Helicopter retrieves sunken ATV

Jacob Robinson

By Jacob Robinson, Simcoe Reformer

A helicopter was used to retrieve an ATV that had fallen through the ice at St.  Williams earlier this week. Bradley Woodward captured the incident on video. Bradley Woodward/photo

A helicopter was used to retrieve an ATV that had fallen through the ice at St. Williams earlier this week. Bradley Woodward captured the incident on video. Bradley Woodward/photo

ST WILLIAMS - 

A local ATV owner opted for an eye-catching option to pull his sunken machine out of Lake Erie this week.

The angler was recently fishing about two kilometres off the coast of St. Williams when his Can-Am side-by-side plunged through the ice. No one was hurt, but the owner and his friends were unable to get the rig back onto solid ground.

“I told the (owner) ‘you’ve got two options, either wait until the ice gets hard enough to lift it back up onto it or get a helicopter’,” said Brad Woodward, owner of Woodward Ice Fishing (formerly Granger’s Ice Fishing) in St. Williams. “He got the helicopter.”

On Tuesday, a helicopter flew onto a safe patch of ice near Booth’s Harbour so the pilot and ATV owner could formulate an extraction plan.

It wasn’t long before the side-by-side was suspended in the air by cables and then placed safely on secure ground just past the town’s lighthouse.

“A lot of people don’t do that,” Woodward said of hiring a helicopter pilot. “But the side-by-side was worth a fair amount and the guy wanted it out of there.”

“The guy flying the helicopter did a really good job.”

There are a few huts still being used on Lake Erie, but Norfolk OPP Const. Ed Sanchuk urged anglers not to drive vehicles of any kind onto the ice right now. The current snow cover providing insulation combined with some rising temperatures is a recipe for disaster, he added.

“No ice is safe ice right now,” Sanchuk explained. “To drive a motor vehicle out there you’re not only risking your life, but innocent people in that vehicle if there are any - and then the emergency response people if they have to go out and try and save you. We’re just asking people to use some common sense.”

In an unrelated incident, two anglers were walking towards a hut from the St. Williams area Sunday morning when they fell through the ice. They were able to pull themselves out of the water and make it to shore.

jrobinson@postmedia.com