Another warning after 3rd ice rescue on Upper Red Lake this week
Authorities are warning anglers after another ice rescue on Upper Red Lake, saying ice conditions will continue to deteriorate due to the ongoing warm weather and the rain forecasted for the holiday weekend.
The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office says three men were rescued Thursday evening after they broke through the ice while returning to shore after fishing on the lake. It’s the third rescue to happen on the lake within a week.
A day of ice fishing for Dale Mord and his buddies quickly turned into one of those ice rescues.
“In your head you are thinking, ‘We’re OK,’ until you’re not. Within seconds, and that’s what happened,” Mord explained.
The wind on Upper Red Lake on Sunday pushed an ice chunk where they were fishing a couple hundred feet from the main ice sheet.
“It’s not like we were sailing away like Gilligan,” Mord said.
It left them and several dozen other anglers stranded, waiting for help to come.
“We need to acknowledge our volunteer first responders who answer the call, leaving their homes and families, and assist those stuck or fallen through the ice,” said Christopher Muller, Beltrami County’s emergency management director.
Thankfully, he says nobody has been hurt in the several rescues this week on Upper Red Lake.
Thursday evening, three fishermen got lost on the ice after dark and fell through, the sheriff’s office says. One of them was able to call for help and indicated three people on an ATV and trailer had broken through the ice, and that two of the three men had fallen into the water but were back on top of the ice.
Kelliher Fire and Rescue helped rescue them roughly a mile from Joas Beach Road Northeast.
And earlier in the week, a plane carrying anglers that tried to land on the lake broke through the ice after authorities say the pilot believed he had found a safe landing area. However, the lack of snow caused the plane to have difficulty slowing down and slid into an area of thin ice on the southeastern shore.
“This year just hasn’t been optimal for ice conditions. It’s been very warm, and we’ve had a lot of wind and that isn’t conducive to forming good ice,” Muller said.
“One thing that has to be known is that Mother Nature has a mind of its own,” Mord added. “You shall not go against or bet against it, it can prove you wrong.”
Some anglers, while anxious, aren’t as bold as those who have had lines in the water this winter.
“Anything in the metro, it seems like you know, it’s hit or miss, you know, very dangerous. I don’t think the risk is worth the reward,” Adam Chrestensen, who had plans to fish on Seton Lake in Mound on Friday but turned around at the shore when he saw open ice, said.
“[With] my luck I’d be the first guy to fall in out here,” Chrestensen said.
It’s that exact way of thinking Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Mitch Lawler wants people to have.
“Right now, I don’t care what part of the state you’re in, ice is very, very sketchy,” Lawler, who works in the Alexandria area, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.
“Right now, if people ask me, ‘where’s their good ice around Douglas County?,’ [and] I say nowhere,” Lawler said.
He adds if you do decide to venture out on the ice right now, wear ice picks around your neck to help pull yourself out of the water if you fall through, and tell a family member or friend your plan.
This weekend, Minnesota’s Weather Authority says temperatures will reach the 50s in parts of the state, with fog on Saturday and Sunday. Rain is also expected on Sunday afternoon and throughout the day on Monday. CLICK HERE for the latest forecast.