DERRY, N.H. (CBS) — A firefighter risked his own life to save two boys who fell through thin ice in Derry.

The 12-year-olds were playing pond hockey in Hood Park Thursday afternoon when the ice gave way and they dropped into the frigid water.

A man playing basketball nearby heard the boys scream and called 911.

Firefighter Jim Hoffman put on ice water rescue gear, got into the pond and crawled across more than 100 feet of thin ice to get the boys out.

“Jim grabbed the two boys, one of whom was still on the ice. The other was partially submerged with only his hand visible,” Derry Fire Batallion Chief Jack Webb told WBZ-TV.

Hoffman then carefully dragged them across the ice while he was attached to a rescue line.

The pond in Hood Park a day after the ice rescue in Derry, NH. (WBZ-TV)

The pond in Hood Park a day after the ice rescue in Derry, NH. (WBZ-TV)

“At one point he got wedged and stuck. He had to break through the ice using his elbows, because he still had the boys in both hands. The ice also caught him and cut open the back of (his) suit.”

The boys, who had been in the frigid water for about ten minutes, were taken to the hospital where they were treated for severe hypothermia and then released.

Firefighters say ice should be 4-to-6 inches thick before you attempt to walk on it and 8-to-10 inches thick for an off-road vehicle.

The ice on the pond Thursday was only about one inch thick.

Webb said the only way to properly check the thickness of the ice is to drill a hole in it.

WBZ-TV’s Chris McKinnon contributed to this report.


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