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Drivers ignore warning signs, break through ice on Lake Minnetonka

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Drivers of two different vehicles decided to ignore the "Thin Ice" signs on Lake Minnetonka Wednesday evening, and both of them ended up breaking through the ice, authorities said.

All four people involved escaped from the water without injury, but it's another reminder that the ice on many area lakes is unsafe, the Hennepin County Sheriff's office said.

The first vehicle, with two teenage boys inside, broke through the ice in Gray's Bay about 5:40 p.m. The front axle of the car was submerged and the boys escaped on their own, according to the sheriff.

The second vehicle, a Ford Focus, broke through about 7 p.m. in a channel at Phelp's Bay. The two men inside were able to escape the car, which was fully submerged, and were found by rescue crews about a half hour later, according to WCCO.

The sheriff’s office says both parties drove right past “Thin Ice” warning signs.

Sheriff's Lt. Kent Vnuk said the drivers will most likely be cited and will have to pay a fine, and they may even face criminal charges, according to WCCO.

Vnuk said the ice in many locations on Lake Minnetonka is simply not safe because of the warmer than usual temperatures this winter. The department warns people to stay away from channels and posted thin ice areas.

“If you’re going to go on the ice, drive during the daytime, watch for the ‘Thin Ice’ signs, don’t ignore them,” Vnuk told WCCO.

If a vehicle does go through the ice, the owner is responsible for getting it removed and towed, and it usually costs several thousand dollars, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Here's an ice safety reminder from the Department of Natural Resources.

And there's more ice safety information on this DNR web page.

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