Stay off of the river ice: OPP


Vigilance is being urged as ice begins to form on the Rainy River.
“Parents should remind their children to stay off the ice at this time of the year,” stressed local OPP Cst. Anne McCoy.
“Speak to your family about the dangers of ice,” she added.
“If you see children playing around the waterfront, ask them to get off the ice or call the OPP.”
The warning comes after reports from concerned residents who spotted kids out on the ice along Front Street, throwing rocks and trying to break through the ice.
“Ice safety is important at all times of the year,” said Cst. McCoy. “The Rainy River is a particularly hazardous ice surface at all times in the winter because of currents.”
And it’s only been recently that the weather has turned cold enough to begin making ice, she noted.
“The biggest thing is you can’t trust ice when there is a good current—and rivers always have quite a current,” agreed Grace Silander of Safe Communities Rainy River District.
She noted the river never freezes around where she lives in the district.
“There really is no safe ice, especially around town,” she stressed, adding this is particularly true since the weather has been warmer so far this winter.
“We’re asking the parents to be vigilant of their kids—to make sure that they know that they’re not on the ice.
“And for the kids—just don’t go out there.”
Silander recalled Fort Frances lost a youth in the river quite a few years ago—and this tragedy doesn’t need to happen ever again.
“But I don’t know how many near-drownings we’ve had, either, or how many kids have gone through the ice,” she remarked.
“You don’t often hear because they manage to get back up and crawl back out.”
Silander also pointed to a 22-year-old man who died recently after going through the ice on a snowmachine in Manitoba.
“The ice is not safe,” she stressed. “There’s lots of places that people have been breaking through.”