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DNR urges 'extreme caution' on ice after snowmobiles fall through

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Posted at 4:56 PM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 16:56:11-05

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is urging ice-goers to use “extreme caution” when on or near the ice, despite freezing temperatures throughout the state.

Six snowmobiles have fallen through the ice in southeast Michigan over the past 11 days, according to a news release Tuesday.

“We’re seeing a mix of situations – snowmobiles riding into open water and snowmobilers who break through the ice,” said Sgt. Jason Becker, who patrols the area. “Be aware of the ice conditions before you go out. Do not rely on yesterday’s conditions. Weather changes can rapidly affect the ice in a short amount of time, even if it’s a sudden drop in the temperature.”

Upper Peninsula conservation officers near Garden responded on Jan. 22 to reports of a drowning after strong winds created a four-to-five-foot-wide pressure crack, exposing a portion of Lake Michigan.

Officers said an angler had been operating his off-road vehicle to or from his ice shanty, which was located on the far side of the ice that had been separated by the pressure crack.

The man appeared to have mistakenly navigated his ORV into the open water, where it then sank 10 to 15 feet.

The DNR encourages everyone to pay close attention to the different characteristics of the ice, wear an insulated snowmobile suit (which can serve as a personal flotation device) and carry ice picks in an accessible location.