First responders rescue Husky trapped in icy pond

  • Amherst paramedic Josh Steininger carries a shivering Luna to the Amherst Fire Department’s ambulance to warm her up with blankets and heat packs Tuesday after she was rescued from Leverett Pond. STAFF PHOTOS/PAUL FRANZ

  • Shutesbury Fire Chief Walter Tibbetts, in water, serves as a human icebreaker for Leverett firefighters Michael Visniewski and Torsten Bidwell as they make their way out to Luna, who had been trapped in Leverett Pond for at least an hour Tuesday.

  • Rescuers make their way out to Luna, an 11-year-old Husky, who fell through the ice in the middle of Leverett Pond Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Amherst paramedics Josh Steininger and Casey Bergeron wrap Luna in a blanket after she was pulled from the ice. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Leverett firefighters Michael Visniewski and Torsten Bidwell help Luna from the row boat used for the rescue. Shutesbury Fire Chief Walter Tibbetts is at right, still in the water. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Luna, an 11-year-old Husky, was trapped for more than an hour after falling through the ice in the center of Leverett Pond before being rescued Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The ice rescue sleds were making slow progress to the freezing dog as they kept breaking through the ice. Firefighters eventually borrowed a row boat to break through the ice to get to the floundering dog. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Paramedics try to warm up Luna in the Amherst Fire Department’s ambulance. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Luna’s owner, Vic Scutari, of Leverett, thanks police and firefighters for rescuing the family dog from Leverett Pond on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Rescuers haul the boat with Luna back to shore on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 2/26/2020 10:19:24 AM

LEVERETT — An 11-year-old husky named Luna tried to claw her way back up onto the thin ice of Leverett Pond for more than an hour Tuesday morning before she was rescued by first responders.

A 911 call at 11:53 a.m. reported a dog fallen through the ice, triggering a response from police and fire departments from Leverett and Shutesbury, along with the Amherst Fire Department’s ambulance.

Firefighters initially used two ice rescue sleds, both of which are supposed to glide over the ice, but they kept breaking through, slowing the process of reaching Luna, who had fallen through the ice in the center of the pond.

It was then that the landowner, where the rescue was being staged off Putney Road on the south side of the pond, offered his aluminum rowboat. With a channel already cut part way to the pond’s center, Leverett firefighters Michael Visniewski and Torsten Bidwell, wearing red dry suits, paddled out. They were joined by Shutesbury Fire Chief Walter Tibbetts in his yellow dry suit, who served as an icebreaker in front of the boat, while Visniewski and Bidwell used paddles to also break ice and paddle ahead.

Once Luna was safely in the boat and wrapped in blankets, the boat was hauled back to shore using a tethered rope. Quickly, Amherst paramedics took the shivering animal to the waiting ambulance where the heat was cranked up, and where she was surrounded by blankets and warming packs.

Owner Vic Scutari was called once Luna was rescued as her tags contained his phone number as well as her name. Scutari, who lives on the other side of the pond on Camp Road, said Luna escaped from home Tuesday morning as he was bringing his children to school. He returned to look for the family dog, but could not find her.

Alerted to the situation by Leverett police, Scutari came to the scene and was reunited with Luna, who was alert and warming in the ambulance. After thanking those involved with the rescue, he transferred Luna to his truck, noting he was headed to the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital in South Deerfield to get Luna checked out.

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