January 10, 2012
MADISON - Following three drownings over a three-day period after people broke through thin ice on Wisconsin waters, state recreational safety specialists are again strongly cautioning that ice on many state waterways is not thick enough to safely support a human -- much less any type of vehicle.
Conservation Warden Todd Schaller, recreation safety chief for the Department of Natural Resources, says the ice is always unpredictable, but this winter's mild weather has resulted in ice levels much thinner that normal for this time of year.
A car with two occupants broke through thin ice on the Big Eau Pleine Reservoir near Mosinee on Saturday. One occupant was able to exit the vehicle and make it out of the water but another drowned.
Early Sunday a man walking on thin ice on the Fox River in Oshkosh broke through. His body was recovered Monday.
On Monday, a rural Warren man drowned after falling through the ice on a private pond in Monroe County. The man was riding a rough-terrain vehicle when the accident happened.
Two other people fell through thin ice in December, bringing to five the number of people who have died in such incidents this winter. An ice angler broke through thin ice on High Fall Flowage in Marinette County and drowned, and a teenager broke through the ice of on a quarry near Oshkosh and drowned.
Temperatures that have reached into the 50s in southern Wisconsin in the last week have continued to slow ice formation, and even helped melt ice that had already formed.
Conditions vary throughout the state with some of Wisconsin larger lakes like Lake Winnebago and Lake Mendota still having open water. Many river systems also remain open.
"It is important that ice fishers use caution if conditions in their area allow them to venture out," Schaller said. "If ice thickness is unknown, stay on the shore and stay dry. The ice fishing season will be here soon."
Schaller says people should use this time to brush on some ice safety precautions. Review these with others who enjoy the outdoors - especially any children. Ice poses dangers on ponds, lakes and rivers.
Before you go:
When you go:
Watch out for this:
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Todd Schaller - (608) 267-2774