VERNON — Three teenage boys who planned to spend their Monday afternoon ice fishing were lucky to escape serious injury when they fell through the ice, authorities said.

The boys, who ranged in age from 14 to 16 years old, were able to get themselves out of the frozen Vernon Valley Lake before first-responders arrived, according to police. A local family helped bring them to shore and then took care of them before they were checked out by the Vernon Township Ambulance Squad, police said.

"Even ice that appears safe can be dangerous in spots," police said. "Recent weather conditions has made ice unstable in many places."

After being checked out by paramedics, the boys were all released to their family members.

Several humans and animals have to be rescued after falling through frozen surfaces this winter. Last month, two boys were able to walk out of the water after falling into the frozen Navesink river in Rumson. Dogs have been saved from icy water scares in Howell and Mullica Township as well.

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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com

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