Outdoors in Whitehall by Gene Terry: Praise for volunteers in South Bay search

T o say this winter has been an unusual one is probably a big understatement. I cannot remember every having no snow and with the Mettowee, South Bay and Lake Champlain all opened by the first of March. Unbelievable! Oh, there’s still some ice at the south end of South Bay but with the weather predicted to be in the 60s all this week, it should be all gone by this weekend.

As was always the case when we have an up-and-down winter like we had this year, the ice is very unpredictable in many places. So it was on South Bay this year. Out from Barber’s and Twinbee Marsh is always one of the places on South Bay where you have to be careful. This was the case so to speak a couple of weeks ago when someone thought they saw someone out there with an ATV and then the lights disappeared. The person called 911 and reported it as anyone who saw this would do also.

While I’m glad no one was found and it was an unfortunate mistake, it could have been the real thing. What amazed me was the fantastic response by the volunteers who came to help. I cannot say enough about the rescue squads, the volunteer fire companies, the rescue and air boats that were used and the dedication of these individuals who risked their lives to go out there at night to try to find someone who went in. This also continued the next morning to no avail. Thank god no one has come up missing.

You have to realize this was the dark of night with the bay partly opened and partly covered with unsafe ice, but the firemen and volunteers spent hours out there looking and looking.

You have to give credit where credit is due and these men and women all spend many volunteer hours just for an incident like this. Glad it turned out OK and you should all deserve a great pat on the back for your time and efforts. Thank you being there.

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