May 21 2013 Latest news:
by Stephen Moore
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
A dog perished under the ice in freezing water after jumping into the lake in Regent’s Park on Sunday, while its owner was “extremely fortunate” not to have died after falling through the ice trying to save his pet.
Firefighters used specialist equipment to rescue the man, 25, after he fell through the thin ice of the boating lake at noon on Sunday.
His dog, understood to be a Staffordshire bull terrier-type, died in the incident despite firefighters’ best efforts to locate it.
Specialist rescue units were sent to the scene, by Clarence Bridge at the southern end of the four-feet-deep lake, and firefighters spent an hour breaking up the ice in the hope of finding the dog alive.
Meanwhile the man was treated by ambulance crews for shock and hypothermia, and was taken to St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington as a precaution.
A spokesperson for The Royal Parks, which is responsible for maintaining Regent’s Park, said: “We are working with our contractors to arrange a search for the dog’s body once the ice on the surface of the lake has melted. We are keeping the police informed, who are in contact with the dog owner.”
A similar incident in Alexandra Palace happened at 8.30pm the same day. There, firefighters managed to rescue the man from the lake and reunite him with his dog, which had made it onto an island in the middle of the partially-frozen lake. A child on a sledge also had to be carefully winched back to safety from a frozen lake after shooting onto the ice in Uxbridge on Sunday.
Jim Knighton, the brigade’s assistant commissioner for operational procedures, warned people to stay away from the ice.
He said on Monday: “To put it bluntly, it’s extremely fortunate we weren’t faced with a fatality yesterday. If people fall into an icy lake, hypothermia will quickly set in and they won’t survive for very long.
“People with dogs should keep them on a lead and keep a close eye on them. It’s so easy for dogs to run off and end up in difficulty as we saw in London yesterday. If a pet ends up in trouble, call 999 and stay put, rather than attempting to rescue it yourself.
“Parents should also talk to their children about the dangers of going on the ice. Ice may look sturdy enough to stand on but it usually isn’t and easily breaks.”