Ice Briefs: Narrow Escapes, Rescuers Building Skating Rinks, Winter Road Construction Starts
A Landseer reportedly saved the life of a 10-year-old girl who had fallen through ice on a pond near her home in rural Võru County, but the dog itself drowned in the process.
Õhtuleht reported that the girl's mother heard her cries from inside the house, but it took several minutes for her to reach the pond at a full sprint.
By that time, the girl was out of the water but the dog had slipped under the ice and could not be retrieved.
A spokesperson for the Estonian Landseer Breeding Association told the paper: "These dogs are known especially for rushing immediately, unthinkingly into danger upon hearing a family member in distress."
It's the second time in recent months that the breed has been in the news, incidentally. In June, the national record for largest litter was set by a Landseer, with 14 live pups.
A 10-year-old girl who broke through ice on a small river on Hiiumaa Island was saved by two boys in her class, uudised.err.ee reported. The water was not deep, but the swift current and frigid temperatures - now down to double digits even on the coast - necessitated rapid action.
"The girl who had sunk into the water by the bank was holding on to a frozen sapling and couldn't get out by herself," said Viktor Saaremets, a local rescue official.
The ice formed about two weeks ago during the sudden turn to the frigid temperatures, then the underlying water level dropped, forming a pocket.
Rescue officials have issued advisories warning of this and also counseled parents across the land to instruct their children about the dangers of thin ice.
A program is also under way to set up rinks across Estonia so that children will be less likely to venture onto unsafe "wild" ice. The Rescue Board is helping local governments built 64 of them, while another 36 are completely volunteer projects.
On Hiiumaa, there will be four skating rinks.
Although as late as the second week of January, it looked like this winter would be a rainy washout for prospective ice motorists, the two-week cold snap - one of the deepest in years - has changed that.
The Road Administration has ordered that all ferry traffic cease by 23:59 on January 28 in five of the locations where the agency sets up ice roads, Saarte Hääl said. That will allow ice to form.
A sixth ice road, between Haapsalu and another peninsula, Noarootsi, has already been unofficially open for a week and will open officially today.