Authorities urge ice safety after rescues in 2 counties


EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Authorities are reminding people no ice is safe ice after ice fishermen were rescued in Allegan and Muskegon counties over the weekend.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says no ice is considered safe. They say the strongest ice is clear with bluish tint while the weakest is appears milky.

If you do decide to go out onto a frozen lake or pond, you are asked to take safety precautions. Authorities say you should tell someone where you are going and when you return. You should bring a flotation device, ice picks, two-way communication device and a whistle.

The DNR said ice covered by snow should always be considered unsafe. The ice under snow is thin and weak. You should stay off ice with slush on it.

A sudden cold front with low temperatures can create cracks within 12 hours. Warmer weather can take several days to weaken ice, according to the DNR.

If you do break through the ice, authorities say you should remain calm. The DNR provided the following tip:

  • You should not take off winter clothing. It won’t drag you down and will provide warmth.
  • While in the water, you should go towards the direction you came from. It’s most likely the strongest.
  • If you have ice picks, dig them into the ice while kicking your feet to pull yourself onto the ice by sliding forward.
  • When you get back onto the ice, roll away from the weak ice. Rolling on the ice will distribute your weight to help avoid falling through again.
  • Once out of the water, get to shelter then take off your wet clothes, put on warm, dry clothing and drink a warm, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverage.
  • If you feel disoriented, have uncontrollable shivering or symptoms of hypothermia, call 911 and get medical attention.

More information on ice safety can be found on the DNR’s website.  

Sunday, two fishermen were rescued from Lower Scott Lake in Allegan County and two other fishermen were also rescued from the water at Pomona Park in Muskegon County after falling through the ice.  

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