North GA teen falls through frozen pond, dies
CALHOUN, GA (WRCB) - A North Georgia community is mourning the loss of a young teen who fell through a frozen pond and died. It happened Thursday afternoon in Calhoun.
Schools were closed in Gordon County Thursday due to lingering icy conditions. The sheriff says a group of kids were riding four-wheelers, when they stopped and walked out onto a small frozen private pond.
It's a tragedy that's shaken the Calhoun community. A 13-year-old middle schooler is suddenly gone. Emergency responders say it's hard to accept that they couldn't save him. They hope this sends a warning to all parents to have a conversation with your kids about the dangers of playing on ice.
"I've never seen this. It's just a sad situation," Gordon County Sheriff Mitch Ralston said.
13-year-old Joseph Attoh lost his life in a small pond that sits between two subdivisions in a power line field, off Boone Ford Drive in Calhoun.
"The kids like to get out here on their four-wheelers, on these hills and play around here," Gordon County Deputy Fire Chief Byron Sutton said.
That's what Gordon County officials say a group of middle school aged friends were doing Thursday afternoon, when they stopped, and walked onto the ice-covered pond. Their weight proved too much, and they collapsed into the frigid water. Joseph was the furthest out, and the only one still in when rescuers responded to a 911 call made from one of their cell phones.
"This one in particular went further out than them and when he went under, he never came up," Sheriff Ralston said.
Deputies, EMS and firefighters tied truck straps to their wastes and plunged in after him into neck-high water, all risking their own lives. The dive team and boat arrived a short time later.
"They went into action and they tried to do their job as best they could do to save this young man, unfortunately, we were unable to," Sheriff Ralston said.
They found the boy about 40 minutes after he went under. They tried resuscitating him the whole way to the hospital, but he never came back.
"You've got a lot of people that live here, have children here and they really care and yesterday was difficult for all of us," Sheriff Ralston said.
They hope they never see something like this again.
"Please talk to your children about walking on the icy conditions. Even though it was in the teens the last few nights, the ice doesn't get that thick this far in the south," Sutton said.
"I don't want to be a Monday morning quarterback when it comes to parenting, but this is sad," Ralston said.
Emergency officials say their prayers are with the victim's family and the kids who witnessed the tragic scene. The boy's body was taken to Atlanta for autopsy Friday.