Round Lake ice rescue called ‘lucky’ as paramedics, firefighters save man

Rescuers save man on Round Lake

A man is lucky to be alive after he fell through the ice on Round Lake while fishing this morning.

Emergency personnel rescued a man who fell through the ice on Round Lake on Friday morning.

Paramedics tell NewsChannel 13 the situation could have easily turned from a rescue to a recovery.

Paramedic Scott McNeff could hear the ice cracking under him, crawling out to the man who had fallen through around 30 minutes before he and his crew arrived from Malta-Stillwater EMS.  

“You just know he was in trouble. I mean, you could tell right away as soon as you went in there, he was done. He was screaming, he couldn’t hold on,” McNeff said.

McNeff had years of experience with Hudson River rescues as a former Troy Fire Department lieutenant. He threw the man a rope and secured him. Round Lake firefighters got in the water and together they got him out.

According to State Police, Malta-Stillwater EMS, Round Lake Fire Department, DEC officers and forest rangers were on scene and pulled the man from the water Friday. The man was conscious, breathing and alert. The man is expected to be okay.

“Fire department, they did a good job getting to, getting down there with the guys and able to help extricate the guy from the ice,” McNeff said.

Malta-Stillwater EMS Executive Director Scott Skinner said even many trained professionals would have waited on land for the fire department.

“Scott made a risk-benefit analysis that this guy wasn’t going to make it in time. Very lucky that it was Scott today that was working,” Skinner said.

Malta-Stillwater has 70 staff members and 15 volunteers. With people leaving the profession and a struggling EMS system nationwide, Skinner is increasingly worried about having the staff and the ability to respond quickly to an emergency.

“We’re running short. And there’s times where we don’t have the people we need, or we’re mandating them, or we’re encouraging people to work more hours than they’re used to because there’s not the pool of employees anymore,” he said. “We need our legislators’ help, we need our leaders to step up and make sure that when people call 911, they get the help they need.”

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