After Parker pond death, rescuers stress safety

Posted at 8:58 PM, Jan 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-17 00:47:45-05

Following the death of a teenager who fell through an icy pond in Parker on Thursday, rescue crews are stressing safety and encouraging everyone to stay off the ice.

"You lose some sleep over it, as a rescuer too -- you can do the best that you can do and you still have a bad outcome... it's not the great feeling that we want to have," said South Metro Fire paramedic and dive team member Justin Comfort.

Comfort was one of the rescuers called to the scene in Parker where three teens fell through the ice of a retaining pond near Tallman Drive and Hilltop Road.

Rescue crews were able to pull all three teens out of the water, but Patric Lantz, 16, died at the hospital.

Legend High School Principal Jason Jacob said Max Gantnier was airlifted to a hospital where he remains in stable condition. Cole Robinson, one of the other teenagers who feel through the ice, was released is back with his family.

"I could probably get choked up thinking about it, I mean, cause somebody lost their life and that was somebody's kid," said Comfort.

Comfort said the teens made the mistake they see all too often.

"[The ice] absolutely can be misleading," he said. "People think, 'oh this looks strong enough, it's gonna [sic] hold me -- it's frozen, it's been cold,' but you just really don't know."

Comfort said divers face a lot of challenges when someone falls through ice.

"If they go underwater, we really won't be able to see them because our water is very murky," he said.

Comfort added rescuing someone underwater is their last resort.

"If we can make a rescue either by reaching for them, throwing something to them, that's the way we would like to go," he said.

In Parker, crews used a tree branch to reach one of the teens but had to go under to find Lantz who was under the water for more than 35 minutes.

For Comfort, his message is simple.

"The number one rule really is to stay off the ice, the number two rule is really stay off the ice, and the number  three rule is to really, really stay off the ice," he said.

South Metro Fire said there are places where it is safe to fish or walk on the ice, but encouraged people to visit places where the ice is monitored.

Comfort said it takes at least six inches of ice to hold one to two people and twelve to fourteen inches of ice to hold a small SUV.


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