Emergency responders, with the help of a local couple, rescued a man and his 10-year-old son who had fallen through the ice into freezing water while snowmobiling on a lake in Grafton on Sunday.
Michael Vento, 38, and his son, Colby, were in the frigid water at least 10 minutes, police estimated. Both were taken to UMass Memorial Medical Center and treated for hypothermia, but have since recovered, Grafton police said in a statement.
The two had been out for a joy ride on the lake when Michael Vento saw water bubbling through the ice from an old ice fishing hole, he told the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. He tried to speed the snowmobile away, but the ice gave out and he and his son tumbled into the water.
“Colby kept saying, ‘Don’t let me go under,’ ” Michael Vento told the Telegram. “I said, ‘Colby, hold onto me as hard as you can. I’m not going to let anything happen to you.’”
At 5:28 p.m. Sunday, police responded to the lake after receiving a call from Grafton resident Jessica Zaleski, who said two people had fallen through the ice near her house. When police and firefighters responded, Zeleski told them her husband, Roger, was already out on the ice trying to help the father and son, the police statement said.
Police found Roger Zaleski 50 feet out on the ice, reaching to help the Ventos, who were struggling to stay afloat in the icy water, the statement said.
An officer retrieved a flotation ring and tossed it to the Ventos, who grabbed hold and were pulled to the edge of the ice, authorities said. Rescuers, with the assistance of Roger Zaleski, managed to pull Colby Vento out of the water to safety.
“I had no strength to kick and stay above water,” Michael Vento told the Telegram. “I was shaking so bad.”
Rescuers tried to pull the father out, but could not manage it from their position on the ice. Fortunately, they located a nearby canoe and used it to pull Michael Vento out of the water, the statement said.
Police said the snowmobile appeared to have sunk to the bottom and was lost.