HANSON – Just two hours before a time of celebration New Year’s Eve, two local men were rescued from the icy waters of Maquan Pond — both found semi conscious and clinging to an overturned canoe.
Hanson Fire Chief Jerome Thomspon said the two men who were still in the hospital as of Wednesday were barely able to communicate when first responders reached them Tuesday night.
Between the time of the 911 calls at 10:35 p.m. for reported “yells for help” coming from the pond, and the time the firefighters made contact with the men, they had already been in the ice-covered pond for a half hour.
Firefighters in survival suits deployed an ice rescue sled as they made their way over the ice in darkness however, their boat could not break through the tricky, deceptive thickness of the ice, which made the rescue challenging.
Broken chunks of ice were visible and an overturned canoe that floated inland on Wednesday could be seen wedged off shore behind the Needles Lodge.
The men, who are 50 and 33, are reportedly residents in Hanson but have not been identified by authorities. There has been no clarification on why the men were out in the small craft in the late, frosty night.
Thompson, who praised the efforts of all the responders on Thursday, had emphasized Hanson Fire Department members drill annually in ice rescue and, despite the preparation, each circumstance can be different.
“Any type of rescue is labor intensive,” he said. “It was a coordinated effort – with a positive outcome.”
Both men were transported to South Shore Hospital in Pembroke ambulances suffering from exposure. A Whitman ambulance was called to stand by, and evaluated the firefighters that performed the rescue. Fire personnel were assisted at the scene by Hanson Police.