CHESHIRE >> Stay off the ice.
That safety message was hammered home on Tuesday by Lt. Col. Thomas Grady of the Berkshire County Sheriff's Office in the wake of another incident on a frigid — but barely frozen — Berkshire lake.
"Because of the freeze-thaw cycle and rain this winter, there's no confidence level in the thickness of the ice," said Grady.
Grady, a veteran diver, is leader of the sheriff's dive team that was called to Cheshire Lake Sunday afternoon to retrieve a four-wheel ATV and trailer that had fallen through the ice roughly 150 feet from shore.
The incident occurred shortly after 1 p.m. near Farnum's Crossing, and while no humans had to be rescued, the dive team with assistance from Cheshire police, state police and state environmental police officers spent two hours pulling the vehicles from the water.
After a 3-foot-wide sluice was cut through the ice, Grady and two other divers in dry suits hooked ropes to the ATV and trailer, pulling them to shore through the newly created open water.
The retrieval came roughly an hour after firefighters on Sunday rescued three people who had plunged into the icy waters of Lake Mansfield in Great Barrington.
One person was treated for hypothermia at Fairview Hospital and released several hours later. The other two declined medical treatment.
Grady says there have been at least four ice rescues in the Berkshires he's aware of this winter — none with serious injuries.
Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233.