Keswick Woman Plunges Into Icy Pond

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

December 18, 2005

A rescue in Albemarle County reminds residents they are skating on thin ice when it comes to visiting ponds and lakes during the winter. A Keswick woman took a scary plunge.

The woman is Claudia Lynn who fell into the frozen pond behind her Keswick home. Ironically, while she was on the pond giving help during an emergency, friends and neighbors made their own scream for help, this time to help her.

It was noon Saturday, when a woman fell into a pond behind her Keswick home, as a barking dog waded in frigid waters. All Claudia Lynn, who wished to remain off camera, could think of was saving the dog who had fallen through the ice. Soon it was her needing assistance.

"I stepped forward, and there was no man's land at that point. So I'm assuming that it is beyond six, or seven feet in that area which meant I would have had to swim to [that] point to get her," said Assistant Chief of the East Rivanna Fire Department Scott Goss, who rescued Lynn from the water.

Lynn got a rope to pull the dog out to safety, but it failed, so got a canoe from her backyard. She was able to move the canoe through the water while breaking the ice with a paddle. Wearing heavy clothing and boots, Lynn was making good progress, until she stood up. It was then she flipped.

"She at that point was holding on with one hand, and persistent yelling and screaming at her to maintain her grasp on the side of the canoe, allowed me to grab the canoe with her attached," said Assistant Chief Goss.

Seeing what just happened, her neighbor called police, and as Lynn said, she was hanging on for dear life. She kept telling herself not to panic, so she could be sure to get out alive. However, Lynn let go of the canoe, and went under.

"She was in the water, and she was obviously in hypothermic distress," said Goss.

Members from the East Rivanna Fire Department were able to rescue Lynn. Steve Lavell, an alert neighbor, who heard Lynn screaming, was able to rescue the dog. A bit modest, he attributes the teamwork of everyone.

"For everybody to be there and around, to act that quick was great. The Fire Department Rescue Team did a fantastic job. My hat's off to them," said Steve Lavell.

Firefighters say Claudia Lynn was in the water for about ten minutes, but Lynn says it happened all so fast, but the rescue seemed to take forever. Lynn was taken to the University of Virginia Hospital, but is resting in her warm home with her husband Andrew, who was out of town when this happened.

Officials say ive should be 5 inches think to be able to hold the weight of a person like ice skaters or fishermen.

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