Police: Risky ice rescues worth the cost - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Police: Risky ice rescues worth the cost

Rescue crews often use a hovercraft like this to go out on the ice. Rescue crews often use a hovercraft like this to go out on the ice.
OTTAWA COUNTY, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Officials in Ottawa County said ice rescues can be risky – and expensive – but they said they'd rather be safe than sorry. This was the case over the weekend when a 911 call sparked a pricey, all-out manhunt.

Rescue crews were called to Sand Beach Drive in Carroll Township on Sunday, when local bird watchers thought they saw a man standing on the ice in Lake Erie. A minute later, they said he was gone.

"At that time, the officers called out the resources that are available to us," said Chief Jody Hatfield of the Carroll Township Police Department.

After three hours of searching the icy water, crews found no one.

The total cost of the rescue attempt is not yet determined, but the police department said it spent thousands.

"I say $10,000," Hatfield said. "Is it more? Could be. It's something that I'd rather err on the side of precaution if somebody was out there, to use the resources and to spend that money, even if there is a tight budget everywhere now."

To help cover that cost, Ottawa County used to have a policy of charging people who needed rescuing more than three times, but that policy is no longer in effect.

"The biggest reason [we did away with that policy] is because of the fact that it's not my place to say what they should pay for their rescue," explained Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Levorchick. "So many different entities are involved in a rescue."

Many of the rescue workers were volunteers, with the exception of on-duty sheriff's deputies and the Coast Guard. Sheriff Levorchick said the community is grateful for people willing to give their time.
"I don't ever want to detract from what the volunteer firefighters do in our area," he said. "They're the ones that go on the ice, and they don't get recognition for that."

Authorities have requested that anyone who may have been on the ice Sunday morning call them to let officials know they're safe.

Related: Water rescue called off in Ottawa County

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