Video: Water rescue training exercise turns into real-life rescue for Mo. FFs

The Maryland Heights Fire Protection District rescued two teenagers who fell through the ice near the department's water rescue training drill


Mike Stunson
The Charlotte Observer

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. — Firefighters in Missouri quickly put their new skills to use on Tuesday while saving two teenagers after completing water rescue training.

Video from the Maryland Heights Fire Protection District in the St. Louis area shows firefighters on Creve Coeur Lake working on ice rescue training when the camera pans to another location on the lake.

The fire chief noticed two people running across the lake before the ice below them broke, sending them plunging into the water, according to the fire district.

“I glanced over and thought, ‘Yeah, that’s just an accident waiting to happen,’ Steve Rinehart, assistant chief of the Maryland Heights Fire Protection District, told KTVI. “And the minute I thought that, they dropped through the ice.”

The crew went into response mode and two additional departments assisted in the rescue, the fire district said.

Video shows two firefighters with ropes tied to their waists jumping in the frigid water to help save the teenagers, with a third responder throwing a rope into the water for the teens to grab.

Within a minute of the firefighters entering the water, they pulled the teens back onto the ice. From there, firefighters on land used the other end of the ropes to pull everyone back to shore.

The rescue of the two teens, ages 15 and 17, occurred 350 feet from shore, KSDK reported. They were taken to the hospital for observation but did not suffer any injuries.

“We ask one thing from everyone- Stay off the ice!” the fire district said. “These 2 were lucky with their outcome because we had crews within seconds, but not everyone is that lucky.”

Commenters thanked fire officials for being at the “right place at the right time”

“Yes, had they could have died, but thankfully we were there to save them just in the nick of time. For us to be there at that given second, the odds had to be astronomical,” Rinehart told KSDK.


Learn more

Learn more

Video: Soft ice encounters – alternative approaches for fire crews

A step-by-step plan for rescue operations on thin and unreliable ice rescue, focusing on minimalist rigging and rapid deployment

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