Minneapolis, Minnesota – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources issued a warning about the dangerous ice conditions across the state, following multiple incidents of people falling through the ice and either requiring rescue or tragically losing their lives. The DNR attributed the deteriorating ice to widespread rain, wind, and unseasonably warm weather in recent days.
In central to southern Minnesota, open water has emerged due to the poor ice conditions, while in Beltrami County’s Upper Red Lake, 122 anglers had to be rescued after becoming stranded on an ice floe that detached from the main ice. Although there were no reported injuries during the rescue, four anglers fell into the open water while bystanders attempted to save them using a canoe.
The DNR has reported at least three more ice-angler rescues on Upper Red Lake this season. And with temperatures expected to drop in northern Minnesota, it warns that the ice conditions will remain poor until a stretch of cold days can form new, clear ice.
Tragically, two individuals have lost their lives this December after falling through the ice in Minnesota. One incident occurred on Big Toad Lake where a man was found dead after his ATV overturned in 4 to 5 feet of water. The other tragedy unfolded when a commercial transport vehicle crashed through the ice on Lake of the Woods, killing the passenger.
Beltrami County Sheriff Jason Riggs emphasized the importance of checking the weather and monitoring ice thickness frequently before venturing onto the ice. He stressed the need for anyone heading out to have a plan in case they end up in the water, as the ice conditions are constantly changing.
The DNR has offered safety advice, including wearing a life jacket or float coat while on the ice, carrying necessary tools like ice picks and rope, and checking ice thickness at regular intervals. They also advised individuals to bring a cell phone or personal locator beacon and to never go out onto the ice alone.
As the dangerous ice conditions persist in Minnesota, residents are urged to exercise caution and prioritize safety when considering any activities on frozen bodies of water.