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Warm temps put lake users on thin ice

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Buffalo: Warm temps put lake users on thin ice
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As the temperature rises, so does the risk of falling through the ice and into potentially dangerous waters. YNN's Mark Goshgarian tells us why emergency officials are urging people to stay off of Chautauqua Lake.

CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY, N.Y. — The Lakewood-Busti Police Department checked on two ice fisherman at Lakewood Community Park Tuesday, who both appeared to be okay.

The moves comes days after emergency crews were called to help an Ashville man who fell through the ice there. He was able to get himself back to the shore.

"Very lucky to have been able to recover, grabbing on to something to get himself up out of the lake and to get himself into a safe location on shore, extremely lucky," said Sergeant Investigator Paul Gustafson, Lakewood-Busti Police Department.

Police say despite the warnings when the temperature rises, crews respond to about three or four ice rescues a year.

"I can only imagine, very scary. There's a point of panic there I would assume when you submerge underneath the water and underneath the ice, I can only imagine the fear that goes through someone's mind," said Gustafson.

"There's ice and then there's snow covered ice, so its very deceiving as to how thick that ice can be," said Julius Leone, Chautauqua County Emergency Services Coordinator.

Emergency Services Coordinator Julius Leone says snowmobilers and others need to use caution before crossing the lake.

"You're dipping yourself into water that's below freezing temperature. Typically, you have heavier clothes on and that kind of shock to the body makes it very difficult for someone to maneuver in those conditions," said Leone.

Given the dangers associated with falling through the ice and into the chilly waters, consensus is, just stay off it.

"It could be very fatal very quickly depending on the conditions," said Leone.

"Extremely dangerous. It doesn't take more than a few seconds for hypothermia to settle in, as well as danger for the first responders that are responding to rescue the individuals involved," said Gustafson.

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