A tragic incident unfolded as a 41-year-old ice fisherman lost his life after falling through the thin ice of Basswood Pond in Otsego County, New York. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation reported that the incident was witnessed by a dog-walker who promptly called 911. Forest ranger Nate Laymon, located just a minute away, rushed to the scene and found the older brother, aged 42, treading water while searching for his younger brother.
The challenging rescue operation involved Laymon sliding onto the fragile, approximately 1-inch thick ice to reach the older brother, using a throw bag and a rope to pull him out of the water. Despite the older brother suffering from hypothermia, Laymon successfully brought him ashore and transported him to the Edmeston Fire Department with the help of a sled.
The search for the younger brother continued, with Laymon scanning the freezing pond and eventually locating the 41-year-old submerged in seven to eight feet of water. The rescue team worked tirelessly to pull the younger brother out of the water, initiating CPR immediately upon reaching the shore. Both brothers were then transported to the local hospital, where the older brother was treated and released, while the younger one tragically succumbed to the incident later that night.
Laymon praised the efforts of everyone involved in the rescue, highlighting the collective commitment to saving lives. Despite the heartbreaking outcome, Laymon expressed pride in providing the younger brother a “fighting chance” through their efforts. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the risks associated with venturing onto frozen bodies of water and the critical importance of safety measures during winter activities.