ROME, N.Y. -- A teenager from Taberg is lucky to be alive – after falling through the ice on the Barge Canal, in Rome.
He successfully walked across the canal once at Canal Street, and fell through on the way back.
It happened Sunday afternoon when the high temperature was in the upper 40s.
The Rome fire chief says the 14-year-old was with two younger family members at the time, and they called 911.
As firefighters were in route, a runner, Josh Hardesty, heard the boy calling for help and went into the canal after him, bringing him to shore.
The boy was treated at the scene with heating pads before being taken to the hospital for an evaluation.
"About six minutes, I think total time for the call that he could have been in the water. So in that cold temperature. This time of year the water temperature is probably right around 32 degrees the open water, and it's just a hazardous environment for everybody. The canal is very unpredictable. Some areas could be thick some areas could be thin due to the fact of streams that flow into the canal changing the water and making the ice thinner,” said Rome Fire Department’s Ronald Brement.
The 14-year-old did not know how to swim.
Rome firefighters have actually been on the ice over the last two weeks – training for ice rescues.
They call it a dangerous time of year. There is no law that tells people to stay off the ice, but the Department of Environmental Conservation says it's not safe to be on the ice if it’s less than four inches thick – that goes for walking, snowmobiling, or fishing.
However, there is a law for ice anglers. Shanties needed to be removed from waterways by March 15.