PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Two New Jersey teenagers were rescued by firefighters after getting stuck in the freezing Passaic River.
Shawntel Wilson, 16, and a friend decided to play on the ice that was covering the Passaic River on Monday — but fell through into the water, CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported.
“When I first went under, it was cold as hell, I’m not even going to lie — that water was freezing cold,” Wilson said.
Wilson’s friend told him to keep his head above the water.
“He said ‘don’t put too much weight on the ice, just hold your arms over it and kick your feet over it,” Wilson said.
The Paterson Fire Deparment arrived at the scene with their emergency gear.
“The quick assessment was that they were were hypothermic and fading fast,” Paterson Fire Department Chief Brian Rathbone said.
Rathbone used a technique used by the NYPD to help the boys out of the ice — laying flat-out and crawling so the weight is distributed equally.
But the ice gave way on him too.
“When I did go through the ice though, did I have that initial ‘oh no, this is cold,’ — yes I did,” Rathbone said. “But I just had to keep moving and get out to them,” Rathbone said.
The boys grabbed hold of a rescue ring and were pulled to safety. Rathbone carried the boys on his back.
“Now the ice that I crawled across going out, we had to break to get back in,” Rathbone said.
The firefighters pulled the boys to safety, and they are doing fine.
“Me and ice obviously aren’t friends,” Wilson said.