A search operation by Hawkesbury Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers and local firefighters on Sunday evening was fortunately not the tragedy it could have been. 

According to the Hawkesbury Fire Department, it was called to assist the OPP at approximately 5 p.m. on December 12. The police had been contacted after a witness saw two youths walking near the Ottawa River on the vacant land between the riverbank and Main Street East in Hawkesbury, near the intersection with Wellesly Street. There was concern the young people had gone onto the extremely thin amount of ice on the river and fallen through. 

Police officers and firefighters searched the riverbank. Hawkesbury firefighters checked the ice on the channel between the riverbank and a small island and found no evidence anyone had fallen through. A second witness later said they had seen two young people walking away from the area. The Hawkesbury Fire Department used a special raft to search the river and the Grenville Fire Department provided its rescue truck and small boat to use if needed. 

OPP Constable Ken Gray said the search was done to make sure no one was in danger. 

“It was more precautionary.” 

The search area is a steep bank from Main Street down to the Ottawa River. There are signs posted telling people to keep out of the area. 

The OPP is advising young people to stay away from riverbanks and not go onto any ice on waterways.