Do not step on thin ice, rescuers warn

The State Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) has already had to rescue several people who had fallen through the ice this season. Ice is thin and it's not safe to be on it, VUGD told Latvian Radio December 4.

The first one this season was an ice fisher in the Mēmele near Bauska, followed by several more calls. A dog also had to be rescued.

Over the weekend, too, a man was rescued on the Daugava embankment near Old Rīga.

The ice layer is not yet steady and the weather is changing, VUGD spokeswoman Ilze Dāme-Birziņa said, calling on the public to be prudent and not put their lives at risk.

"Farther away from the shore, the ice is uneven and a person can fall in. Moreover, it is thinner in places where industrial waters enter reservoirs, at bridges, and in places where reeds, shrubs, or other plants grow,” noted Dāme-Birziņa.

Snow on the ice also gives the false impression that the ice layer is thick. VUGD is urging residents to be co-responsible, not risk, keep an eye on pets and children.

As repeatedly reported by LSM over the years, Latvia has a serious problem with a huge number of drownings and other water tragedies every year. Latvia consistently tops European league tables for drownings per capita with dozens of deaths both in summer and in winter when reckless fishermen regularly fall through the ice. 

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