Tragedy has struck this long holiday weekend as warnings of thin ice went unheeded. Three separate incidents on Friday underscored the need for caution when venturing out onto ice, especially so early in the winter. All of these incidents come only days after public officials started issuing warnings about the unsafe nature of lakes and ponds.
In Cedar Grove, WI, a 9-year-old girl fell through the ice on a small pond while skating. Her father desperately jumped in to save her while her 6-year-old sister ran for help. The bodies of the young girl and her father were recovered by a police dive team on Friday.
Only 10 miles away a 12-year-old boy had been hunting with a chaperone when he wandered off ahead. The chaperone soon discovered his four-wheeler floating several yards offshore and unsuccessfully tried to pull the child to shore. Rescuers were able to recover the boy who was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
Fortunately not all incidents ended in disaster yesterday. In Hawley, MN, a 7-year-old boy and his 9-year-old sister were sledding near a partially frozen lake on Friday. While sledding their dog ran off and jumped into open water in the lake. The boy ventured out further onto the ice in attempt to guide the dog to safety while his sister ran for help. While trying to save his dog, the boy too fell through the ice and clung to the edge. When his father arrived he was able to slide out on his belly and pull his son and then the dog to safety. The boy's sister was able to take a light hearted look at the incident and commented "I wish Thanksgiving could be (today) because we would have something to be thankful for."
Ice must be at least four inches thick before it can support foot traffic and at least five inches thick before it can support ATV's. For more information on ice safety, check with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.