by Ray Pauley
Public Information Officer, Grand Island Fire Co.
A Buffalo man is lucky to be alive after falling through ice and into the Niagara River Saturday.
Shortly before 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18, Grand Island Fire Co. rescue personnel responded to a report of a man in the water at the River Oaks Marina, 101 Whitehaven Road near East River.
When GIFC Fire Chief Greg Butcher arrived on location within two minutes, 27-year-old Michael Jones of Buffalo was found to have broken through the shore ice at the end of a dock where he had been ice fishing. Fortunately, a companion held him up until rescuers arrived after the friend's cell phone call for help.
Butcher stated that four firefighters and Erie County Sheriff's Department deputies were required to bring Jones out of the frigid waters and onto the dock, where he then received initial treatment by GIFC medics for exposure and hypothermia. He was then transported to Erie County Medical Center for additional medical follow-up care.
Fire officials believe that Jones would not have survived his ordeal without his friend's immediate lifesaving assistance and swift call for help.