Authorities in Minnesota are warning residents about dangerous thin ice conditions that have led to multiple deaths and rescues. The state’s Department of Natural Resources and local law enforcement officials issued the caution following a series of incidents involving people falling through the ice.
According to the Minnesota DNR, recent widespread rain, wind, and unseasonably warm weather have degraded ice conditions across the state, leading to open water in some areas. In one instance, 122 anglers had to be rescued from Upper Red Lake in Beltrami County after they became stranded on an ice floe that detached from the main ice.
The DNR also reported at least three additional ice-angler rescues on Upper Red Lake this season. Despite forecasted drops in temperatures, poor ice conditions are expected to persist until new, clear ice forms after a string of cold days.
Tragically, the warning comes after two individuals died in December after falling through ice in the state. One incident involved a man who fell through the ice on Big Toad Lake in northwestern Minnesota, while another fatality occurred when a commercial transport vehicle crashed through the ice on Lake of the Woods in the Northwest Angle, resulting in the death of the passenger.
Officials are urging people to thoroughly check ice conditions, constantly monitor ice thickness, and stay updated on the weather when venturing onto frozen bodies of water. Additionally, wearing a life jacket, carrying safety equipment, and avoiding going out on the ice alone are strongly recommended.
The recent incidents and warnings serve as a stark reminder of the dangers posed by thin ice in Minnesota, especially during a winter season with unusual weather patterns. As the state continues to emphasize safety measures, residents are urged to exercise extreme caution when engaging in winter activities on frozen lakes and rivers.