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2 anglers dead, 4 snowmobilers recovering after falling through ice


Two people died after falling through the ice on a lake near Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, Sunday afternoon. And in another incident, several snowmobilers fell through "extremely" thin ice on a Minnesota lake.

2 anglers die in Wisconsin

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The Chippewa County Sheriff's Office says two adult men fell through the ice on Glen Loch Flowage around 2:3o p.m. Sunday.

Investigators believe the men were fishing separately. Brandon Rogers, 33, of Bloomer, was believed to have fallen into the water first, and when William Ruf, 76, of Chippewa Falls went to help, he too fell in.

First responders performed CPR on the men before they were taken to the hospital, where they were pronounced dead.

The Leader-Telegram reports portions of the western side of Glen Loch Flowage had open water, but there was ice on the east side of the lake. That's where the men had been fishing.

The investigation into the incident continues, but the sheriff's office is reminding everyone to be careful on lakes and other waterways due to the unseasonably warm weather this month.

Snowmobilers break through ice

Two snowmobilers broke through the ice on a Crow Wing County, Minnesota, lake Sunday afternoon – and when family members tried to help, they fell into the icy water too.

Steven Truehart, 30, of Brooklyn Park, and Heather Gillen, 33, of Gilbert, Arizona, were riding snowmobiles on Partridge Lake when Truehart's broke through the ice, the sheriff's office says.

Gillen stopped her snowmobile and tried to get Truehart out of the water, but she fell through the ice too.

A family member who was looking for Truehart and Gillen was able to pull Gillen from the water. And when two other family members on a snowmobile tried to get to Truehart, they broke through the ice, but were able to get to shore safely.

First responders – all wearing cold water rescue suits – broke a path in the ice and pulled Truehart to safety. He was about 100 yards east of the shoreline at the time, and officials estimate he had been in the water for about an hour before he was rescued.

Truehart and Juliane Bromley, 57, of Deerwood (she was on the snowmobile trying to rescue Truehart) were taken to the hospital to be treated for cold exposure.

Sheriff Todd Dahl says ice on the lake was "extremely thin," noting ice conditions on area lakes are unpredictable, unsafe and remain very dangerous, even with recent colder temperatures.

More warnings about thin ice

Officials in Minnesota and North Dakota have also been warning about ice conditions this winter after incidents on local lakes. Last week, Hennepin County officials urged people to stay off all lakes in the area after an ice boat broke through the ice on Lake Minnetonka.

And it's not just in the southern part of the state. About two weeks ago, roughly 50 people had to be rescued from Upper Red Lake after an ice chunk they were on broke free. Two other anglers were rescued in North Dakota days earlier. And a skater who had a lucky escape late last month.

Last year, five people died after breaking through the ice on Minnesota lakes.

The Minnesota DNR suggests staying off the ice until 4 inches of “new, clear ice is present.”

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