2 kids on ATVs break through ice in St. Louis County

The sheriff's office is reminding people to check the thickness of ice before going out on frozen water.
Publish date:

Two kids riding ATVs broke through the ice on a lake in St. Louis County on Monday, prompting the sheriff's office to remind people to check ice thickness before heading out. 

According to the St. Louis Couty Sheriff's Office, the two were riding separate ATVs on Fish Lake Reservoir when they broke through the ice around 4:45 p.m. Monday. 

The kids made it back to shore safely, the release says. 

The sheriff's office reminded people to check the thickness of ice before going out on frozen water. The Minnesota Department of Resources says ice is never 100% safe and you should check ice thickness every 150 feet because it can change. 

As a general guideline, the DNR says there should be 4 inches of new, clear ice if you want to go ice fishing or do any other activities on foot. If you plan to snowmobile or ride an ATV on the ice, it should be 5-7 inches thick with new, clear ice. To drive a car or small pickup, there needs to be a minimum of 8 inches of new, clear ice, and a minimum of 12 inches is needed for a medium-sized truck. 

The DNR says white ice or "snow ice" is only about half as strong as new, clear ice. So the above thicknesses should be doubled when going out on a lake that has white ice. 

Last winter (2019-20), two people died after breaking through the ice, DNR data show. One person who was on foot broke through the ice on the St. Louis River in Carlton County in late November and died. The other involved a snowmobiler who went into the water on Olson Lake in Grant County in late February.

On average, three people die from breaking through the ice per winter season in Minnesota (this is based on an average over the past five seasons – 2015-16 through 2019-20), the DNR says

Of the 15 ice-related fatalities from 2015 to last winter, 13 people died while riding a snowmobile or ATV on the ice, one death involved a motor vehicle and the other was someone on foot, data show.

Late ice-ins, pristine skating

Although ice has started forming on many lakes across the state, ice-in was delayed this year thanks to a milder-than-normal November and early December, MPR News reports

The median ice-in date on most lakes in the northern two-thirds of the state ranges from late November to early December, according to the DNR. (Note: The DNR tracks ice-in dates but for the current year it doesn't post them in real-time due to safety concerns and because reported ice on lakes may not be permanent for the season and varies from lake to lake.)

This year, though, many of the larger lakes in central and southern Minnesota still had open water at the start of December, MPR said. 

But in the days since, smooth black ice has formed on some lakes creating pristine skating conditions due to the lack of snow. (Remember, ice should be at least 4 inches thick to go skating.) 

These conditions aren't seen too often in Minnesota because there's usually snow, but they've become more common in recent years (winter 2018-19 had great skating ice too).

Next Up

Nurse Rachel Zanmiller, who's battling cancer.

After post-birth cancer diagnosis, MN nurse's family asking for help

Rachel Zanmiller has been battling leukemia since giving birth last month.

jennifer carnahan

After intense campaign, Jennifer Carnahan reelected MN GOP chair

This will be her third term leading Minnesota Republicans.

police lights

Meth, handgun and $34K in cash seized in drugs raid

Two people were arrested and two children were placed with family service.

Screen Shot 2021-04-11 at 7.44.24 AM

Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' cold open was about Derek Chauvin trial

It featured four cast members playing anchors of a fictional Minnesota TV news channel.


St. Cloud State blanked by UMass in national championship game

Minnesota had three teams in the Frozen Four but didn't claim the national title.

BLM mural in West St. Paul.

Minnesotan's fight to save his BLM mural gets international coverage

West St. Paul told Ryan Weyandt the art violates city code.

Alex Rodriguez

Reports: Alex Rodriguez part of group finalizing deal to buy Wolves, Lynx

The former MLB will become part-owner of the Wolves and Lynx.

snow, slush (submitted photo, ok to use)

Accumulating snow expected in parts of Minnesota on Monday

Far northwestern Minnesota stands the best chance for higher snow totals.

Screen Shot 2021-04-10 at 1.53.51 PM

Police looking for 'person of interest' in connection to woman's killing

The public is advised to avoid approaching him and to call 911.

covid, vaccine

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Saturday, April 10

Cases and hospitalizations have been on the rise in Minnesota.

Gabe Kalscheur

Gabe Kalscheur announces he's transferring to Iowa State

The former Gopher guard entered the transfer portal last month.


Asked about restrictions, Walz says Minnesota is in a 'hold pattern'

Meanwhile, the governor of Michigan is urging people to stay home to slow the spread.


4 thin ice incidents in 3 hours reported near Willmar

Four lakes, four separate cases of vehicles and ice houses falling through.

Ice crash Minnetonka

Vehicle breaks through ice on Lake Minnetonka, authorities urge caution

Authorities are urging people to repeatedly measure ice as they venture out on lakes

Cross-country skier falls through thin ice on Roseville lake

It happened on Lake McCarrons in the Twin Cities suburb.

railroad crossing, train crossing

Suspected drunk driver survives vehicle-train crash in Dakota County

The sheriff's office is reminding people not to drink and drive.