Wednesday 21 March 2018

Warning over frozen lakes after girl falls through ice

Brian McDonald and Grainne Cunningham

A YOUNG girl had a narrow escape when she fell through the ice on a frozen lake yesterday as gardai continue to warn people not to walk on to frozen stretches of water.

The girl was one of several children and adults who had ventured on to the lake at Loughrea, Co Galway, at about 3pm. She was walking close to the edge of the lake when she disappeared under the ice.

Family members and others rushed to her aid and she was quickly pulled from the freezing water and did not require hospital attention.

Notices warning people to stay off the lake during the bitterly cold spell have been ignored by many, according to Loughrea Angling Club.

And yesterday dozens of adults, with children in tow, continued to walk over ice-covered lakes across the country.

Loughrea spokesman Francis Fahy said he and other members of the angling club had seen motorbikes and quad bikes speed across the ice.

"It is highly dangerous and it is clear from the marks on the ice that lots of people have been going onto the lake. I know some gardai were even abused for warning people to stay away", said Mr Fahy.

Gardai said they placed cones around the lake earlier yesterday in an effort to stop such an incident occurring.

In Ennis, gardai were called to Ballyalla on several occasions over the weekend when dozens of people walked and skated on to the lake, which had frozen for the first time in over half a century.

Gardai said there was little they could do as people were going back onto the ice as soon as they left the area.

Meanwhile, gardai warned of the dangers on frozen Lough Gur in Limerick over the weekend. Last week, two Cork teenagers escaped tragedy when they plunged through the ice in separate accidents at the Lough.

All over the country, many lakes and other stretches of water that have not frozen in decades are covered with a layer of ice but experts warn that there is no way of knowing how deep the ice is or when it will give way under pressure.

Irish Independent

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