Estonian border guard officers helped two Latvians ashore who had broken through the ice on Lake Peipus with their ATV.
The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) was informed at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday that an ATV used by two Latvian nationals had broken through the ice on Lake Peipus. The men were able to react quickly and escaped on foot, while the ATV sank.
Officers dispatched to the scene used a hovercraft to bring the two Latvians back to shore. They also picked up the men's personal belongings from the water and the area around the crack in the ice, and returned them to the men.
Marek Vaiknurme, senior border guard officer at PPA's Mustvee base, said that the two men had properly registered their departure onto the ice in the morning and spent the day fishing. The accident happened as they were returning to the shore.
One of the men was able to alert rescue services using his mobile phone, the other apparently dropped his into the water.
"Ice conditions were better in the morning, but deteriorated significantly over the course of the day. A few hours before the accident, PPA officers went on the ice to put up more warning signs in the area around Uhtina for prevention and to let people know and be able to avoid danger," he said.
"The fishers said that even though they saw the warning signs, they underestimated the danger," Vaiknurme said.
"Latvians go out on the lake here from Laaksaare or Meerapalu, and we always stress that when starting from Laaksaare they definitely have to keep to the right, because to the left towards Uhtina there is a dangerous area. Since fishers from the neighboring country don't know the area very well, they often make the mistake of choosing the wrong route," Vaiknurme said.
The recovery of the ATV will be arranged shortly, he added.
Editor: Dario Cavegn
Source: BNS, ERR