Officials unable to save deer stuck on frozen Ohio river

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A full-scale rescue of a deer stranded on the Scioto River in Ohio Friday morning ended with the deer being put down.

Columbus Fire, Police and ODNR’s Division of Wildlife Officers came up with a plan of how to remove the deer and were successful, but the deer was too injured to save.

The deer was stranded on the ice just south of Henderson Road for more than two hours, before it was spotted and officials were able to drag it to the shore. The deer struggling for its life, but it couldn’t stand on the ice.

Wildlife Officers kept on eye on the deer with binoculars as divers dressed in Immersion Rescue Suits, also called dry suits. They slid out tethered by rope and brought the deer to shore.

“This was the unfortunate end the deer was euthanized, no human life was put in jeopardy. I guess it was the ultimate resolution to the way this situation had to go,” said Bill Bullard, ODNR Division of Wildlife.

The deer fled onto the ice after officers said it was injured.

“Probably struck by a car went out on the ice, got down by lack of traction, unable to get off the ice,” Bullard said. “Something happened so whether it was coyotes or a car, this deer was not going to survive the Winter.”

The situation was dangerous for both the deer and rescuers, because no one knew how thick the ice was due to water flowing underneath.

NBC4 went to Columbus fire house number two to speak with an expert on diver training.

“Columbus fire has a team of 55 firefighters trained in ice and water rescue and on Friday two of those divers walked out onto the frozen Scioto River and recovered the stranded deer.

No matter how cold the temperature is, training officer Lt. Steve Treinish said there is no such thing as safe ice.

“The biggest thing is ice is always unsafe. There is a variety of water conditions under the ice that can erode some of the thickness away. It changes from location to location, so the biggest thing we can offer the public is assume you are going to go through,” Treinish said.

He said don’t be tempting to go out on the ice and rescue a pet.

“it is very tempting and emotional to go get that pet, but that is usually when a well-meaning owner or civilian becomes a victim and we need to come in and get them,” said Lt. Treinish.

But there are thing you can do after calling 911.

“One of our throw bags is a great thing to have on the ice. If that doesn’t work any reach tool, a ladder, a stick, a pole or a post. Anything you can do to keep yourself in a place of safety and try to affect rescue with the person in the ice,” said Lt. Treinish.

Officer Bullard said like with the stranded deer, don’t put your life in jeopardy trying to rescue it.

“If they would have gone through the ice, then you are putting human life’s trying to rescue wildlife and that is just a bad situation for first responders and everyone involved,” said Bill Bullard, Wildlife Officer at the Ohio Division of Natural Resources.

Firefighters train all year round using dry suits and multiple rescue techs they call Tenders, but Treinish said you might last only minutes after falling through the ice before hypothermia sets in.

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