Man dies after breaking through ice on a 4-wheeler

Authorities say the ice was less than an inch thick in some areas.
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An Aitkin County man is dead after breaking through ice on an ATV.

The sheriff's office has identified the man as Kevin Lee Futhey of McGregor.

The 59-year-old had been driving a four-wheeler on Sandy River Flowage leading into Big Sandy Lake. Then around noon on Friday, the sheriff's office responded to a call that an ATV had fallen through.

Authorities were able to locate ATV tracks that led to a hole in the ice. A Polaris Ranger was found in about 8 feet of water. Futhey was in the cab.

Futhey was airlifted to the hospital. Officials say he died Friday night at North Memorial Medical Center.

Dangerous ice conditions

Officials throughout the state have been warning people to be careful or stay off the ice.

Ice conditions have deteriorated with the warm weather we've had. And even though it might be cold now, the ice could be dangerously thin in some areas.

The Aitkin County Sheriff's Office says the ice Futhey had been driving on was 3 inches in some areas, and half an inch in other places. According to the Department of Natural Resources' guide, that's all way too thin to even walk on.

The DNR says ice should be at least 4 inches thick to walk on, or 5-7 inches to drive an ATV on.

But this winter we've had several freezes and thaws, and the DNR says that produces “extremely weak ice that is dangerous deceptive in its appearance and how thick it measures.”

Southern parts of the state were hit with storms and tornados earlier this week, so some lakes in those areas are completely ice-free – marking some of the earliest ice-out dates ever.

For ice house removal dates – some of which have already passed – click here.

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