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‘Ice is never truly safe,’ deputies remind Minnesotans as temps drop

Dec 01, 2022 10:39AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Tom Barrett 

By  - Fox 9 News - November 30, 2022

Minnesotans enjoy their watersports. So as the temperatures drop, they may be itching to go ice fishing or snowmobiling on the lake. 

However, local deputies said it'll be a few weeks at least before they can, and even then, there are always risks.

"The ice is never truly safe. So there's no point where we'll say it is safe to go out on the lake because it's very unpredictable. We might have at one point, a foot, … and then there may be open water in the channels throughout the whole winter," said Michael Treptow, a deputy with the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Water Patrol.

Treptow said the ice needs to be at least four or five inches thick before people can walk on it, and even thicker before snowmobiling or driving.

He showed us some of the deputies’ ice rescue tools, including a wilcraft – typically used for ice fishing – which is new for them this winter.

Treptow and a fellow deputy used the wilcraft to rescue a dog earlier this week.

"I have a couple of dogs, so for me, it's definitely more personable. (The dog) was out there for over a day before we got out there," he said. "The dog and the owner both made it back just safe and sound."

It's that time of year again when they train for potential ice rescues, with local fire departments.

"We have multiple people that will get in ice rescue suits and that will go out into the open water. Then we'll have people on the ice that will then rescue them," he explained.

The importance of training played out earlier this week when some 200 people were stranded by broken ice on Upper Red Lake in northern Minnesota.

"We've talked about what we would do if that were to happen down here. Hopefully, we wouldn't have something like that on Lake Minnetonka, but we are prepared if something like that comes our way," Treptow said.

The bottom line, he said, travel in pairs so someone can go get help if needed, and anyone who is unsure how thick the ice is should ask the Water Patrol.

To read this original story and more news, follow this link to the Fox 9 News website.

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