A video of a St. Albert man rescuing his dog from an icy pond has gone viral.
The viral incident was one of four ice rescues that happened in a three-day period in the city. Typically the fire department responds to one ice rescue call per year.
On Saturday afternoon, Duncan MacIver was planning to take his eight-year-old dog Cosmo for a short walk when he ended up plunging into the ice cold water to rescue his furry friend.
CTV camera crews were at the scene, filming a segment about ice safety, and captured MacIver’s daring rescue. Since then the video has been shared around the world.
MacIver said that his instincts kicked in and he immediately jumped in the water after his pooch.
“I think honestly a lot of people would do the same thing and I’m sure if he could, Cosmo would do the same for me. I’m not gonna let him go down without a fight.”
MacIver was planning on taking his French bulldog for a quick 10-minute walk in the off-leash Lacombe dog park when Cosmo wandered onto the ice. MacIver said that usually the dog is very good about avoiding the water but this time Cosmo spotted a dead fish and followed his nose out on the ice.
“His stomach was probably a little bit bigger than his brain in that situation,” MacIver said.
Once Cosmo was out on the ice, he forgot how to get back to safety. MacIver was standing on the sidelines trying to coach him back to shore but Cosmo took a wrong turn and broke through the thin ice.
MacIver said while on the shore he had been trying to gauge the depth of the water in case he had to go in after Cosmo and when he was in the pond he was able to touch the ground.
After a few seconds in the water he was able to push Cosmo back onto the ice and climb out with him. MacIver stood shivering on the ice with his dog trying to calculate how to get back to safety, but took a step and plunged back into the icy water. He was then able to walk back to safety with his pal and a good Samaritan offered to drive the soaking wet duo home.
Fire prevention and safety officer for St. Albert Fire Services, Les David Mroz, said that MacIver’s icy incident was one of four that unfolded over a three day period.
On Thursday, just before 6 p.m., an 11-year-old boy chased a Frisbee onto a storm water retention pond and firefighters had to rescue him from the ice.
On Friday a dog went through the ice at the pond across from Fire Hall 3 at 100 Giroux Road and firefighters had to perform another rescue.
The third and fourth incidents were almost identical and happened just hours apart. At 11 a.m. on Saturday a dog wandered out onto Lacombe Lake and a man jumped in to rescue his dog. Three hours later, MacIver took the plunge to rescue Cosmo from the same lake. Neither of the incidents required the fire department to respond.
Mroz said that usually they get one call for an ice rescue per year, but this year has been a “fluke.”
As far as Mroz knows, Thursday’s incident was the first time the department had to rescue a person from the ice. Typically the department only rescues pets from the ice.
“The simple thing is to keep your dog on a leash. I guess we can’t tell the dog what to do, we can only prevent it from happening.”
Mroz said that the ice is very dangerous this time of year because the ice may appear solid but it may be very thin.
Mroz said to call 9-1-1 if a dog is stuck on the ice. The fire department does not advocate going onto the ice to rescue a pet.