A 57-year-old man from St. Bonifacius was planning to ice fish Saturday morning and was driving an ATV on Lake Sarah, just north of Lake Minnetonka in Independence, when he drove into open water about 200 yards from shore.
The man began yelling for help from the water and two men responded. The two rescuers were men who both live on Lake Sarah. They pushed a ladder to the man in the water and they pulled him to shore.
The Hennepin County Sheriff Office and Medina Police Department, West Hennepin Police Department, Loretto Fire Department and North Memorial Ambulance responded. The ATV operator was transported to a hospital in Waconia. He is expected to recover.
Increasingly unpredictable ice conditions resulting from unseasonably warm weather prompted an order last week from Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek prohibiting the use of cars, trucks, and SUVs on all frozen bodies of water in Hennepin County. Lake access points closed Feb. 9.
Both measures will remain in effect until further notice.
It is unsafe for vehicles to drive on the ice on lakes, rivers or ponds in Hennepin County, according to the sheriff's office, and people using recreational vehicles or walking or ice fishing on lakes are being urged to use extreme caution. Ice thickness varies considerably due to the freezing and thawing that has taken place, and no ice should ever be considered safe.
There have been multiple incidents of other vehicles that have broken through ice in metro area lakes and nearby counties. In Hennepin County, there have been nine incidents involving vehicles going through ice on various lakes so far this winter. Most of the incidents have taken place within the past week.
Information provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.