Fishermen honored for help with ice rescue
They're out on the water almost every day. And it's a good thing the three Oswego County men were last Thursday, when they helped a New York State trooper rescue a man who fell through the ice on Oneida Lake. They told our Kat De Maria their story as they were awarded by state police Friday.
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ONONDAGA COUNTY -- Alan Waldron, Eric Wilsey and Jim Parkhurst love to fish.
"A couple of other friends, my brothers, my uncle, my father, everybody does it," said Waldron, who lives in Phoenix.
"Summer fish, ice fish. As the seasons change, we fish," said Parkhurst, who lives in Oswego.
They were fishing as usual last Thursday when they saw two men go through the ice on Oneida Lake and pull themselves back out. Soon after, another man went in to the water and stayed there.
"My friends and I said it's time to go, we have to do something to help this guy," Parkhurst said.
"We went straight toward shore, I took off all of my fishing gear except for my hunting pants and my boots and went out to save this guy," Waldron said.
When Trooper Ron Morse arrived, he saw the man and the friends, grabbed rope out of his patrol car and went out to them.
"The ice between us was questionable. And when the subject kept going under, I was worried he was going to drown. He seemed to be giving up at that point," Morse said.
Morse wrapped the rope around himself and crawled out to the man.
"He started to come up out of the water and the weight on the ice, it couldn't hold both of us. So the ice gave way and we both ended up going in," Morse said.
"The ice broke. It kept breaking, breaking, breaking. We finally got him out, though, that's all that matters," Waldron said.
The fishermen had the other end of the rope, and pulled Trooper Morse and the man--later identified as Albert Merola, of Cicero to safety. They all received recognition from state police Friday.
"I couldn't have done anything without them being there," Morse said.
The friends didn't get to fish much that day. But they still went home happy.
"I just wanted to make it sure everyone made it home alive that day," Wilsey said.
"Another day for the extreme ice fishers," Parkhurst said.
"We going fishing today?" Waldron asked. "Yeah," Wilsey said. "We're going fishing," Waldron said.