Editor’s Note: The following announcement comes from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is urging people to use caution on all bodies of water due to thinning ice and open water.
Ice thickness is variable due to the warming temperatures and freezing and thawing that has taken place throughout the winter and in recent days. On Lake Minnetonka and other lakes, there is thin ice and areas of open water. At this time, the channels of Lake Minnetonka are extremely dangerous and should be avoided.
At the same time, spring break from school will mean more children will spend time outdoors near lakes and other bodies of water. Parents and guardians are urged to use active supervision when children are near bodies of water due to thin ice.
During the 2012-2013 winter season, there were 25 cars, trucks and recreational vehicles that fell through the ice in Hennepin County. One incident took place on Cedar Lake in Minneapolis and the other 24 incidents took place on Lake Minnetonka. Tragically, there were three deaths in two separate incidents.
The Sheriff’s Office urges you to remember these safety precautions:
- Anyone who plans to venture onto the ice on foot or with recreational vehicles, such as snowmobiles and ATVs, should wear a life jacket. Even with precautions, be aware that being on the ice this time of year involves an increased level of risk.
- Four inches of ice is the recommended minimum thickness for walking and small group activities on ice. No ice should ever be considered safe. Again, channels of Lake Minnetonka should be avoided.
- Remember to keep your dog on a leash this time of year. The Sheriff’s Office has responded to incidents involving pet owners who put themselves in jeopardy chasing after a dog that wandered onto the ice.
The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank police and fire departments throughout Hennepin County that worked in partnership with the Sheriff’s Office to conduct safety patrols, inform citizens of safety precautions, and respond to emergencies. The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the business community for their assistance. Marinas on Lake Minnetonka provided information to citizens who use the lake for recreation. Clear Channel Outdoor posted ice safety messages on several of its electronic billboards.
For more information about ice safety, the Minnesota DNR has information online at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice.