The man, who was submerged for less than nine minutes, was conscious, but hypothermic after being pulled from the water and was transported to South Shore Hospital.
Fire Chief Jeffrey Blanchard was first to arrive on scene where he found the man submerged toward the center of the pond, more than 150 feet from shore.
Within minutes, police officers arrived with water rescue ropes. But because of the man’s distance from the shore, the ropes were not thick enough to pull him out.
“It gave him something to hang on to until rescuers could approach,” Blanchard said.
Minutes later firefighters were on scene with the ice rescue sled and pulled the man to safety.
“It was a great coordinated rescue between Hanover police and the fire department,” Blanchard said.
The rescue came just one day after fire crews practiced ice water rescues during a training drill.
“Their training proved not only be timely, but very valuable today,” Blanchard said. “They were able to deploy the sled flawlessly and it was a very quick rescue once they arrived on scene.”
Blanchard reiterated a tweet sent out on the department’s Twitter feed earlier Wednesday morning, “The only safe ice is at your local skating rink.”
Currents shifting water under ponds, springs and streams can make for unstable ice and variable thickness, he said.
“There is no way to determine — on any body of water – how thick the ice is underneath you,” he said.
Hanover resident Tom Zukauskas, who often takes his children skating on the ponds in Hanover, agreed skaters should stay clear of the center of Forge Pond.
“You have to stay on the edges, the middle is always unsafe on this lake,” he said.
Zukauskas and his sons shoveled an area on the shady side closest to Forge Pond Park to create a makeshift rink where they play hockey. This is the first time he’s heard of an incident at Forge Pond, but said it’s important to take proper safety precautions.
“You always have to bring a rope because you never know what could happen. It’s common sense,” he said. “Make sure you never skate alone either. It was a good thing that kid had a buddy with him today.”