Park ranger saves man from thin ice
Scott Tichy, park ranger, shows off the ice rescue suit at Lake Ashtabula, near Valley City, North Dakota, Jan. 20. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

When the dispatch call came through that there was a man in distress on the ice, Scott Tichy knew what to do.

“This is what we train for, to be responders to people in need,” said Scott Tichy, Lake Ashtabula lead park ranger.

The 29-year park ranger veteran immediately responded with his ice rescue equipment. When he arrived at the scene, he saw a man on the ice in an area that is known to have thin ice. Tichy donned his ice rescue suit as the deputy sheriff arrived on the scene and manned the line while Tichy walked on the ice.

“I fully anticipated I was going to go through the ice,” Tichy said.

Tichy was able to drag the man to thicker ice, where the sheriff met him and helped the effort. The man had frostbite on his feet and was taken away in an ambulance.

Certified for ice rescue, Tichy explained the ice suit allows its wearer to float and stay warm to facilitate a rescue for someone who is on thin ice or has fallen into the water. The yellow, full-bodied suit is 100% insulated and waterproof.

Ice safety conditions vary widely depending on the region and time of the year, Tichy cautions He said you can check with local bait shops, local officials, lock and dam operators and park rangers to find out current ice conditions. They do a good job of keeping people safe on the facilities.

“Always use extreme caution when you go on the ice and never, ever assume that any ice is 100% safe,” he said.

When asked about the incident, Tichy said, “Our operations folks - park rangers, lock and dam folks - they do a good job of keeping the people that come to our facilities safe. We all do this. It was my turn this time, but there’s other folks that do great things every single day. Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”