DACULA, Ga. – Two teens died and a third was hospitalized Saturday after falling through the ice on a partially frozen pond in suburban Atlanta.
Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services Capt. Tommy Rutledge said that two of the boys who got trapped in the pond were unresponsive and unconscious when rescue workers pulled them from the water.
Rescuers said the three, ages 13 to 15, were playing and sliding on the semi-frozen pond in Dacula when the ice broke Saturday afternoon.
Rutledge says one of the boys escaped, but the other two got trapped under the ice and spent nearly an hour in the frigid water.
"It's just a very tragic situation," he said.
The surviving teen was found near the hole on the ice, trying to reach his friends. Rescuers were able to coax him into walking back to shore where they began treating him for signs of hypothermia and shock.
Rutledge said officials flew a helicopter with heat-seeking equipment over the pond, trying without success to locate the missing boys. Rescuers had to get into a boat and use ten-foot poles to feel around the bottom to find them.
The surviving teen was in fair condition at Gwinnett Medical Center, said hospital spokeswoman Andrea Wehrmann.
Wehrmann and Rutledge said they could not release the names of the teens.
Rutledge said Gwinnett Police had issued a news release the day before to warn residents that the ice on area ponds is not solid enough to walk on.
County police have responded to about 30 reports of people playing or walking on icy lakes, ponds and streams over the past few days, Wehrmann said, verbally warning people that the thin layer of ice is treacherous. "Even though it looks inviting, it's a very dangerous thing," he said.