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Man rescued from floating ice chunk in St. Croix River

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A Lakeland man had to be rescued from a chunk of ice floating down the St. Croix River near Hudson, Wis., Tuesday afternoon.

Washington County Sheriff Bill Hutton used the incident as a reminder that it's too dangerous to be on the ice; the recent warm weather has melted much of it and made what's left very unstable.

The 45-year-old man, whose name was not released, told police he was climbing on some ice along the river's edge near Dike Road in Hudson at about noon Tuesday, when a chunk that he was standing on broke away, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

The slab of ice began floating down the river and passed underneath the I-94 bridge that spans the St. Croix. Several people saw him and called 911 to alert authorities, according to KSTP.

Crews from Wisconsin and Minnesota responded, including those from Hudson, St. Croix County, Washington County and Stillwater.

The Stillwater firefighters used an airboat to rescue the man and returned him to shore at about 1 p.m. the Washington County Sheriff's Office said.

Sheriff Hutton warned people to stay off the ice, saying they "don't understand the resources that have to be used" to make a water rescue, according to KSTP.

Law enforcement officials have been warning Minnesotans for weeks that the ice is not safe anymore due to the warmer weather. But reports about cars falling through thin ice were still coming in as recently as last week.

And here's another reminder: the deadline for ice houses to be removed from northern Minnesota waters was Monday. Ice houses in the southern two-thirds of the state had to be gone by March 2.

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