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Person falls through ice in Littleton trying to rescue drone

Members of the Littleton Fire Department responded to Mill Pond for a report of someone falling through the ice trying to rescue a drone. The person was able to get out of the water on their own.
Members of the Littleton Fire Department responded to Mill Pond for a report of someone falling through the ice trying to rescue a drone. The person was able to get out of the water on their own. Littleton Fire Department

Drones may have been a popular Christmas present this year. But don’t risk your life for them, the Littleton Fire Department said.

On Wednesday, rescue crews rushed to Mill Pond for a report of a person falling through the ice while trying to retrieve a drone that had landed on the partly-frozen surface.

After suiting up in special gear to protect themselves from the cold waters, members of the department determined that no one was in immediate danger or in need of rescue.

But firefighters did spot the drone sitting roughly 100 feet away from the shallow area that was searched.

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As firefighters looked around the area, they noticed footprints in the mud leading away from the pond, said Littleton Fire Chief Scott Wodzinski.

Firefighters then followed the footprints, he said, which brought them to a nearby housing development.

Officials spoke there with an individual who confirmed that he and a friend had been flying the drone near the pond Tuesday, when the drone suddenly landed on the ice.

Wodzinski said the individual told firefighters that he and his friend had tried to retrieve the drone Tuesday night, but the ice was too thin, and their efforts were unsuccessful.

“Whoever fell through the ice was able to get out on their own,” said Wodzinski.

To be sure that no one else tried to retrieve the drone from the pond, Wodzinski said, the department sent a firefighter in a special suit, tied to a rope, out onto the ice on his stomach. Once the firefighter was close, he was able to grab the drone before being reeled back in by first responders.

“There were no problems retrieving it,” the chief said.

Wodzinski said the department later returned the drone to its owner. But he cautioned others flying drones in the area to steer clear of Mill Pond, and not to risk their lives for the pricy devices.

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“The ice is not safe. It’s not worth a life,” he said. “You have to use caution flying them.”


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.