Thin ice a concern going into ‘free fish’ weekend

Allegan County
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YANKEE SPRINGS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A snowmobile along with its rider plunged through thin ice on Gun Lake Friday afternoon, prompting the second ice water rescue response on the lake in less than a week.

The incident happened Friday afternoon shortly before 4 p.m.

Wayland Fire Chief Joe Miller said the rider was able to make it to shore without rescuers. He was checked out by medics on scene but was not seriously injured.

Miller said he is concerned that others may make the same mistake of expecting thicker ice around this time of year.

“The way the weather has been recently — it’s been warm the last few days,” Miller said. “There is ice out there but… You should always be extremely careful when you go out on the ice.”

This weekend is expected to be especially busy on Michigan lakes because its “free fish weekend,” one of the two weekends each year where the public can fish without having to pay for a license.

Miller said he wants risk-takers to know that their actions can impact the safety of others.

“If you go through the first thing you do is you start screaming for help,” Miller explained. “Then somebody calls 911 and then that puts the first responders in action — also puts them in danger.”

Last Saturday area fire departments responded to another incident on Gun Lake involving a snowmobile. In that case, a woman was standing up on the snowmobile when it crashed through the ice. She had to be rescued by firefighters and was not seriously injured.,

While both recent incidents in Yankee Springs Township turned out okay, Miller emphasized that those outcomes are no guarantee. He suggest avoiding the ice altogether because of the unusual recent warm weather.

“That could’ve turned out a lot worse,” he said of Friday’s incident.

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