Good Samaritans aid in Georgian Bay ice rescue
Without hesitation, Grant Robitaille sprang into action on Friday night to help Tay Township fire crews, who were responding to a snowmobile incident on Georgian Bay.
Robitaille and his friends brought a snowmobile and an airboat known as a "Scoot" to help the fire department find the dangerous location, where a snowmobile and two people went through the ice.
“Yep, it's like second nature for me. It's like someone jumping into a car. It wasn't a big deal," Robitaille says. “I've seen a lot of people go down, and I've been through the ice myself, so I know how much it hurts."
The Scoot can hover, but also floats and crews needed a way to get to them safely. Robitaille says it was second nature to him.
"There was a pressure crack roughly 50 feet or so past the pressure crack the ice deteriorated quickly,” says firefighter Michael Moore.
Without the good Samaritans, crews would have had to walk over one kilometer to the men.
"The people with the Scoot were proactive and called us,” says fire chief Brian Thomas.
"The ice out there was very slippery, so we had a bit of difficulty making time to get out there,” says Moore. “Plus we were carrying all our gear for rescuing."
One person died, but another was saved. In a situation where time is everything, the chief says these men and their gear made all the difference.
"By having the Scoot and the snowmobile available to us once we got the people in a safe condition to get them back to medical attention is critical and in this case, I believe it was one of the reasons why we were successful with one person,” Thomas.
Robitaille doesn't want a medal or any praise and says he'd do it again in a heartbeat.
"It makes me feel good you know that I helped the people that got off the ice. I don't know where it comes from. It's just something I felt I needed to do."