Vehicle breaks through ice on Wayzata Bay of Lake Minnetonka, authorities urge caution

Authorities are urging people to repeatedly measure ice as they venture out on lakes
Author:
Publish date:
Ice crash Minnetonka

With another accident, authorities are issuing safety notices regarding thin ice across the state. 

Tuesday morning, authorities responded to a submerged vehicle in Wayzata Bay, south of the Wayzata Sailing School on Lake Minnetonka, where the occupants had safely escaped.  

Hennepin County Sheriff's Water Patrol officers found that thickness of the ice varied greatly, with areas of thin ice "unusual" for this time of year, Wayzata Police Chief Michael Risvold said.  

"They didn't realize until today that Wayzata Bay is as treacherous as it is," he said. 

Hennepin County, which has jurisdiction over the lakes, has closed the access until further notice and has been placing additional "thin ice" signs around dangerous areas, he said. 

It's the first accident in Wayzata this season, but one of at least several statewide within the past month.  

Last week, Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson issued a public safety notice, asking Minnesotans to measure the ice thickness by drilling a hole before they enter the ice, and continue measuring as they move through different parts of the lake. 

Conditions can vary from one day to the next, and even within the same lake. In the Twin Cities metro, Hennepin County deputies are finding lakes with areas of seven-inch thick and three-inch-thick ice close together, Hutchinson said in the release.   

The DNR recommends that ice should be at least four inches thick before walking on it. ATVs require 5 to 7 inches, and other vehicles require 8 to 15 inches, depending on size. 

Ice Thickness DNR Guidelines Graphic

“Although the temperatures are low enough to freeze our lakes, the safety risk on the ice still remains very high,” Sheriff Hutchinson said in the release. Hutchinson gives these tips for safety:

  • Patches of thin ice can be covered by snow
  • Carry ice picks for self-recovery
  • Carry a small throw bag so that you can help others if they fall through the ice
  • Don't panic if you start to fall through the ice — return back in the direction you walked on
  • Check ice thickness repeatedly as you move out
  • Areas of animal activity, like muskrats, can greatly weaken ice

If you do fall through, experts recommend taking a minute to catch your breath and locate ice in the direction you came from. Then, extend your arms to reach the ice and kick in the water so that you can horizontally propel yourself back on to the ice. As you approach the ice, stay horizontal so that your body is evenly distributing weight across the ice. Kare 11 aired this video last year with an example.

Additional safety tips can be found on the Minnesota DNR website

Next Up

Willians Astudillo

Twins pitchers decimated: 16 runs, 18 hits, 8 walks ... 4 strikeouts

The White Sox hammered the Twins 16-4 but Astudillo took the mound in the ninth.

Trinity

Girl shot in the head at birthday party 'fighting for her life'

Trinity Ottoson-Smith was struck by a bullet in the head last weekend.

Kelly Kleine

Broncos hire Vikings' Kelly Kleine as highest-ranking woman scout in NFL history

Kleine will reunite in Denver with former Vikings executive George Paton.

Joel Eriksson Ek

Wild looks to exorcise demons from haunted Game 2 history

The Wild have lost nine straight Game 2s entering Tuesday night's tilt with Vegas.

ambulance

Woman who died in crash after car lost tire in Minneapolis is ID'd

The 35-year-old Minneapolis woman was originally from Mahnomen.

Flickr - fishing minnesota 2020 -Lorie Shaull

Curious conservation officer reports from the Minnesota DNR

Gravel thieves, raucous campers and some quick thinking that backfired.

St. Paul police squad

Police 'tactically disengage' from standoff in St. Paul

The incident lasted approximately 2 1/2 hours.

Cane's

Another Raising Cane's set to open in the Twin Cities

This will be the 11th Raising Cane's restaurant in the metro area.

kimberly potter

Trial of former police officer Kimberly Potter starts Dec. 6

Potter is charged in the shooting death of Daunte Wright.

Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.

Health care workers ratify tentative agreement with Allina Health

The union was threatening a strike just two weeks ago.

Related

Authorities urge caution on ice ahead of Hockey Day Minnesota

The ice thickness of Lake Bemidji isn't exactly ideal this season.

A semi truck on the ice on Lake Minnetonka.

18-wheeler gets stuck on the ice at Lake Minnetonka

The truck driver was reportedly led onto the ice by his GPS

Image from iOS (17)

Sheriff: Twin Cities lake conditions still unpredictable

In some lakes, patches of thin and thick ice can be close together

ATV winter snow ice

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.

ice out lake minnetonka

It's boating season on Lake Minnetonka after ice-out is declared

Ice-out is declared when officials can boat through all of the lake's channels and bays without being obstructed by ice.