Firefighter rescues dog trapped in ice off Castle Island

A Boston firefighter rescued a husky that broke away during a walk this morning, ran out onto the frozen Pleasure Bay off Castle Island in South Boston, and became stuck in the freezing water.

The rescue took place just before 9 a.m. Firefighter Sean Coyle from Ladder 19 donned a survival suit, had a rope attached to him, and then ventured out onto the water with a Stokes basket, a specialized stretcher, said Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald.

The firefighter made his way out to the dog, which was trapped in the ice some 30 to 40 yards from shore.


Sylvie, a 13-year-old husky, broke through a thin patch of ice and treaded water for nearly 30 minutes, said Coyle. If not for her thick coat, he said, she might have died.

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“She was pretty shaken up when I got to her,” said Coyle. “At that point, her barks had turned into whimpers. She was losing energy.”

Coyle extricated the animal, put it into the Stokes basket, and then started heading back to shore. The rescue was dangerous, said MacDonald.

“Even though we’ve had cold temperatures, we’ve had some periods of thawing, too,” he said.

Because of that, it is difficult to tell where the ice is thin or thick, said MacDonald.


About halfway back, Coyle let the animal out of the basket, and permitted the dog to walk the rest of the way unaided to the man who had been walking the dog for his niece.

The man, with the dog back on a leash, then left the scene.