A Rindge, N.H., man made an unexpected rescue outside of his lakeside home Sunday when he pulled a 60-year-old Fitchburg ice skater from freezing waters where he had broken through the ice.
Peter W. Sherwin, 51, who was outside collecting firewood, rushed to his 14-foot aluminum boat on Lake Monomonac at about 1:15 p.m. when he heard a man’s cries for help about 200 yards off shore, he said. His wife, meanwhile, called 911.
“I saw a man struggling out there and I knew exactly what I had to do,” Sherwin said. “Thank God I was able to get out there in time to save him.”
Grabbing a blanket, Sherwin said he pushed the boat across the ice to the open water, reaching the man just as he began to sink farther down into the water. A neighbor joined him, and the two hopped into the boat and pulled the man inside.
Sherwin said he and his neighbor gave the man dry clothes, wrapped him in a blanket, and made him do sit-ups to warm up. Without oars, the three then waited for fire rescue to pull the boat to shore.
The man, whose name has not been released, was transported to Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough, N.H., where he was treated and released for exposure, said Rindge Fire Chief Richard Donovan.
It is unclear if the man was unaware how thin the ice is further into the lake, or if he chanced, albeit unsuccessfully, to skate near open water, Donovan said. Either way, it was probably too early in the season for anyone to be ice skating on that lake, he said.
The man is lucky Sherwin and his neighbor acted so quickly, he said.
“I don’t encourage anyone to put themselves in danger that way, but they did do a good job and potentially saved his life,” Donovan said.
As for Sherwin, it was simply the right thing to do, he said.
“Nobody drowns in Pete’s territory,” Sherwin said.
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