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Man falls through ice trying to rescue dog in northern Minnesota

A reminder to stay off such thin ice.

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office responded to a call on Saturday that serves as a reminder that any ice on Minnesota waterways this earlier into the cold season is still very dangerous. 

At approximately 2 p.m., sheriff's deputies and the county rescue squad were dispatched to Sand Lake near Britt, Minnesota, on a report of a man and a dog trapped on the ice. 

The incident started when the dog ran onto the ice and broke through. Its owner walked out to rescue the dog but broke through the ice before reaching his pet. Luckily, there was only about three feet of water beneath the ice, so he was able to get back to shore. 

With the dog still stranded in the icy water, a neighbor used a canoe to reach the dog and pull it out of the water, but in doing so got stuck with the canoe, which required a rescue worker in a wet suit to walk out to them and pull the canoe back to shore. 

No one was injured during the ordeal, but the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office "strongly discourages going out on the ice when it is so thin." 

According to the Minnesota DNR, ice should never be considered 100 percent safe, and it's wise to know the general ice thickness safety guidelines: 

  • Under 4 inches - stay off
  • 4 inches - Ice fishing or other activities on foot 
  • 5-7 inches - Snowmobile or ATV
  • 8-12 inches - Car or small pickup
  • 12-15 inches - Medium truck

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