Berkeley Springs native rescues snowmobiler

Special to HuntingtonNews.Net
Jeremy Lake
Jeremy Lake

CLEVELAND — A Coast Guard member originally from Berkeley Spings, W.Va., was instrumental in the rescue of a Canadian man from a piece of ice about four nautical miles southwest of Colchester, Ontario, at approximately 8:30 a.m., Wednesday.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jeremy Lake, a member of the Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay, a 140-foot Icebreaking Tug homeported in New London, Ct., rescued Jim Turton, 45, from Cochester, Ontario, after Turton became stranded on a piece of ice roughly the size of a football field.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton, Ontario, notified watchstanders at the U.S. Coast Guard Ninth District command center at about 11:25 p.m., Tuesday, to request help searching for four snowmobilers who reportedly fell through the ice near Colchester. Three of the individuals were able to get onto a piece of ice connected to shore, while Turton climbed onto a piece of ice that was not connected to shore and began floating out into Lake Erie.

Poor weather conditions prevented Coast Guard Air Station Detroit from launching a helicopter. The Morro Bay was about 30 minutes away from the search area when the Coast Guard was notified, and under direction of Coast Guard Sector Detroit, got underway at midnight to head for Turton's last known location.

After Turton was located, Lake was lowered down from the Morro Bay and helped him climb up the rope ladder and onto the cutter.

"I joined the Coast Guard to make a difference," said Lake who has been stationed on the Morro Bay since April 2010. "It feels good to save a life."

Also assisting with the search were personnel from the Ontario Provincial Police and local Canadian fire departments. The Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley also launched, but arrived after the Morro Bay crew rescued the snowmobiler. The Morro Bay crew transferred Turton to the Samuel Risley for transport back to Canada.

"Although some may not directly associate the Coast Guard's ice breaking fleet with our service's search and rescue mission, this successful rescue proves that, at the heart of all Coast Guardsmen, we are lifesavers," said Rear Adm. Michael N. Parks, commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District.

"I commend all of the U.S., Canadian and local agencies involved because, without their quick action and collaboration, the outcome of this morning's incident could have been much different," Parks continued. "I also want to specifically commend the crew of the Cutter Morro Bay for embracing the Ninth District's mission ethos, which resulted in a life being saved."

Lake just attended an ice rescue training school at the Coast Guard's Ice Capabilities Center of Excellence in Essexville, Mich., Jan. 25-28, 2011. A photo of Lake attending the ice rescue training is available here.

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