South Pigeon Lake locals and fire department are warning winter sport enthusiasts to make sure they are prepared before firing up their sleds at top speed. New Years Day South Pigeon Lake Fire, emergency responders and STARS Air Ambulance were called to the scene of a serious sledding accident at South Pigeon Lake.
STARS was immediately called for the 13-year-old boy who was sledding through a hay-field on a 1300 CC sled when he went through a barb-wire fence into a tree.
South Pigeon Lake Fire Chief, Wayne Benson, says that the accident was a critical situation however they have been informed that the boy is expected to make a full recovery.
“It sure could have been a lot worse,” Benson says.
No further details regarding the accident are available. Benson says that this time of year it is important to be aware of the dangers of winter sports such as sledding or operating an ATV.
Benson’s main advice is to learn about the area that you will be sledding in before taking to the snow. He also says that it is important to know about your machine and how to safely handle it.
“Have knowledge of your ability and the ability of the machine,” says Benson.
With the ice frozen over at Pigeon Lake and an influx of people out at the lake during the holiday season, Benson and locals are urging people to be aware of their surroundings.
“The biggest thing is paying attention to others,” Benson says. More people means more opportunity for collisions on the ice. He also warns people to be aware of hazards on the ice, “on the lake itself there is numerous things.” Homemade skating rinks with barriers and ice heaves are hazards that people should be aware of.
“Speed is a big thing, not knowing the terrain is another big thing.”
Benson says over his years as a firefighter at the lake he has seen many spinal injuries from people hitting snow banks at high speeds and being launched from their machines.
In addition to knowing your terrain, which for the lake includes knowing about ice depths and safety, Benson says that when sledding or ATVing people should work on a buddy system. Having another person with you is an important safety factor. Benson also says that youth should be accompanied or supervised by an adult when operating an off-road machine.
Benson says that if anybody is interested in learning about how to safely operate their sled and navigate the Pigeon Lake terrain they can contact the South Pigeon Lake Fire Department and they will refer them to someone who can teach them free of charge.