A Ringwood man was pronounced dead after being submerged under the ice of Lake Iosco for more than 10 minutes Tuesday.
Frank Ferrell, 52, died upon arriving at Chilton Hospital despite life-saving efforts of emergency responders.
Ferrell was one of two men who fell through the ice about 150 yards from shoreline. He was unconscious when rescue volunteers pulled him out of the water, while Theodore Andreniuk, 49, of West Milford, was rescued minutes earlier from the water in a semi-conscious state.
Ferrell's death is currently under investigation by the Bloomingdale Police Department and Regional Medical Examiner's Office.
The men were ice fishing at the time, according to Bloomingdale Police Chief Joseph Borell, when a resident of a nearby home called 911 just after noon and said a person had fallen through the ice. A second 911 call came in three minutes after the first about Ferrell in the lake. Initially, police believed just one person had fallen through the ice. Police said the men had been ice fishing since about 9 a.m.
"You could hear someone screaming for help out on the lake," Borell said of the emergency responders' first impression of the scene.
One of the men was also seen waving his hands and yelling for help, Det. Steven Caputo said in a press release.
Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mike Hudson said Andreniuk's hands could be seen from the water as the rescue volunteers pulled him from the ice. Volunteer firefighters Michael D'Amato, Mike Wanklin Jr., Steve Shattls and Chris Neuberger put on ice rescue suits to assist.
"We were able to get him out very quickly," Hudson said.
Andreniuk was transported by Tri-Boro First Aid Squad to a medevac helicopter that landed at the Walter T. Bergen School. He was flown to Hackensack University Medical Center. As of 5 p.m., he was listed in critical but stable condition.
Borell said no one else was fishing on the lake at the time and Hudson said the men appeared to have walked out on to the ice as opposed to boating. It was not known whether they were invited to fish by the nearby resident.
"We're still investigating as to why they were out on the lake," Borell said.
Borell said the lake was not entirely frozen.
"There were portions of the lake that were ice-covered and there were other portions of the lake that were water," he said.
He also said he would not recommend anyone enter the ice of the lakes or ponds in the borough, particularly with warmer weather recently, as it is not safe.
"I certainly would not recommend being on any lakes, any ice, at this time," he said.
Borell said in his 26 years on the force he does not recall a person falling through ice and needing rescue in Bloomingdale. One week ago, the Bloomingdale Council decided to table enacting prohibition of ice activities, such as ice fishing, on public borough ponds. The prohibition is intended to ensure safety as the ponds, Oakwood Lake and Bogue Pond, are not monitored. Consideration of the prohibition ordinance was inspired by the deaths of two Mount Olive teenagers who fell through the ice of Budd Lake.
The prohibition being considered, however, would only apply to public bodies of water and not private lakes in the borough, such as Lake Iosco.
The Bloomingdale police and fire departments, New Jersey State Police, the Passaic County Sheriff's Rescue Squad and the Pompton Lakes Fire Department were among the agencies responding to the scene.
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