At least 8 vehicles fell through thin ice in a 5-day span


A couple in their 80s was rescued Tuesday after their vehicle went through the ice on Clearwater Lake in Stearns County – the most recent in a series of similar incidents, which has authorities issuing more warnings.

On Tuesday morning, Charles Hansen, 84, and his wife, Mary Esselman, 83, were driving out on the lake to ice fish, but were unfamiliar with the lake and fell through the ice about 300 yards from a boat landing, KVSC reports.

The couple wasn't injured, and the truck was removed from the lake, WJON notes.

Lots of accidents recently

This is the latest of several incidents in the past week that has officials around the state again asking people to pay attention to deteriorating ice conditions as a result of the January thaw.

This has the county sheriff's office reminding people to be aware of ice conditions, and if they aren't to not walk or drive on the lake, the St. Cloud Times says.

Officials throughout the state have issued similar warnings. In the past week, three vehicles broke through the ice in Hennepin County, and four vehicles took a dip in Cass County. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries.

Due to the recent incidents, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office has recommended people not drive their cars and trucks onto the ice, noting the warm temperatures and pressure from heavy slush is causing ice to deteriorate and become unstable, as well as causing ice near the shorelines to weaken.

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch notes minimal snow coverage this winter allows motorists to drive freely on lakes, and as a result they may drive over patches of thin ice. In a winter with normal snowfall, there are typically plowed roads on lakes to help keep motorists away from those vulnerable areas.

MN life-saving device will be on TV

The Discovery Channel Canada was in the Twin Ports Tuesday to film how a Superior-made rescue device saves lives, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

The Arm-Loc – a portable, one-size-fits-all device – was designed by Ron Lanthier, of Duluth, and is produced by Superior-based Water Rescue Innovations.

When a victim is in the water, a rescue responder puts the Arm-Loc around the victim's forearm and inflates it, eliminating the need for the victim to grab onto a rope, according to the device website. It also helps keep the victim afloat.

The Duluth News Tribune notes there's a rope attached to the device, which allows rescuers to pull the victim to safety.

The Arm-Loc can also be used to rescue a person from a tight space, and in tsunamis, hurricanes or other incidents.

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