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Deer rescued after fall through ice

Emergency crews rescued a full-size doe that fell through the ice Saturday near Boat Launch B at Mauch Chunk Lake.

A combined effort by about 15 people managed to get the deer to shore safely.

David Horvath, superintendent of Mauch Chunk Lake Park, said Larry Black of the Summit Hill Fire Department took a rope with him, put it around the neck of the deer and got the deer out the water. From there, members of the Summit Hill Fire Department and other volunteers carried it to the shore and laid it down. Blankets were placed on it and eventually the deer was taken to a wooded area.

Horvath said when he checked later, the deer was gone. It apparently had recovered and ran into the woods.

The rescue operations got underway at about 1 p.m. when an anonymous, concerned individual reported that the deer was stuck on the lake. Horvath was notified by Cory Bentzoni of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

When Horvath arrived, it appeared the deer, estimated to be several years old, had tried to walk across the lake and fell through the thin ice. Only the head of the doe was protruding above the ice.

He said it seemed that the water was shallow enough to allow the deer to stand.

The Summit Hill Fire Department was summoned, as was the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Emergency Management Agency coordinator Mark Nalesnik, Summit Hill Police Department and Franklin Klock of the Carbon County Environmental Education Center.

Horvath said a special ice rescue boat was also put onto the lake to help break up the ice and get behind the deer in case it would try to move farther off land.

Black suited up in appropriate attire and walked from the shore line to the frightened animal.

“The deer didn’t seem afraid of Larry,” Horvath said. “Larry got close enough to put the rope around its neck. The deer didn’t move. It was almost like the deer welcomed the help.”

Black then pulled the animal to shore.

“I give Larry Black a lot of credit,” he said. “To care for the animal the way he did was impressive. The lake was frozen but not frozen enough. This is a good reminder for people not to be walking on the ice.”

Horvath said the actual rescue was completed in about 45 minutes, although he and some of the other volunteers were on the scene for several hours.

He said it proved to be a good training exercise for the firefighters and other emergency personnel.

Rescuers reach out to a deer that fell through the ice at Mauch Chunk Lake on Saturday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
The adult doe is wrapped in a blanket after being rescued from Mauch Chunk Lake on Saturday afternoon. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO