Warning about ice dangers after weekend rescue

The quick response of some New York State Troopers and firefighters is being credited with saving young lives. A group of children had to be rescued from a pond after the ice broke. One of the troopers shared his experience with YNN's Elaina Athans and has a warning for young kids.

Elaina Athans

WALLKILL, N.Y. -- "I walked out to the water as far as I could," said Joe Kolek, NYSP trooper.
A group of young kids was lucky to be alive after a dangerous situation required them to be rescued.

Saturday afternoon in the Town of Wallkill, five children decided to have some fun in the frigid weather and headed out to a frozen pond. The ice gave way, some kids fell in, and a rescue in 40 degree weather kicked in.

“I went to the edge of the water and entered the water and sort of broke a path through the ice,” said Trooper Kolek.

Trooper Joe Kolek is one of the emergency responders that plunge into the icy water.

“It took my breath away,” he said.

Working to safe a group of kids scared, cold, and huddled together in the middle of the pond.

“We just kind of hustled them out of the water and they were immediately put inside the ambulances,” said Kolek.

The children were taken to Orange Regional Medical Center where they were treated and then later released. But this frightening ordeal could have been avoided and had a much different ending.

“It’s definitely not a good idea for kids to be playing on the ice. You don’t know how thick the ice is and we obviously don’t want any tragedies to happen," said Kolek.

This bitter blast of winter weather could tempt other young ones to also find a spot that appears iced over and the perfect spot to play…at the risk of their own safety and that of emergency responders.

“Obviously you know I would have rather to stay dry that day. But that’s what we get paid to do…and we’re just thankful everyone made it home safe that day,” said Kolek.