(KENORA, ON) With two separate incidents of people and snow machines breaking through ice on local waterways, members of Kenora Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police are once again reminding the community of the dangers of thin ice. The unusually mild winter has created unstable ice conditions on lakes, rivers and other waterways in the area.

On December 24, 2015 around 11:15 am police were advised that a man and a woman had been travelling on a snow machine on Wreck Lake, north of Kenora to go ice fishing.  The snow machine broke through the ice and sunk.  Both people were able to get out of the water and walk back to their vehicle.  They were taken to hospital where they were treated and released. 

On December 26, 2015 around 3:00 pm, police received a report of an overdue male on a snow machine in the Mud Portage area of Lake of the Woods.  OPP and Lake of the Woods Search and Rescue (LOTWSAR) were notified and began search efforts for the male.  The Manitoba man was able to call relatives and advise he had gone through the ice and was on an unknown island.  He was located by OPP and LOTWSAR about 3 hours later cold and wet but uninjured. 

The OPP would like to remind people of the following:

    • Ice begins to be “safe” at around 4 – 6 inches thickness. Do not even walk on ice 3″ or less in thickness. However, even at a 9″ – 10″ thickness, there may be unforeseen hazards such as a flowing current underneath that is ceaselessly weakening the underside of the ice. In this instance, even the thickness is not a good indicator of safety, as the ice could collapse at any time.
    • In general, the rules for ice thickness measurements are:
      • 3″ (7 cm) (new ice) – KEEP OFF
      • 4″ (10 cm) – suitable for ice fishing, cross-country skiing and walking (approx. 200 pounds)
      • 5″ (12 cm) – suitable for a single snowmobile or ATV (approx. 800 pounds)
      • 8″ – 12″ (20 – 30 cm) – suitable for one car, group of people (approx. 1500 – 2000 pounds)
      • 12″ – 15″ (30 – 38 cm) – suitable for a light pickup truck or a van

People should always remember that these measurements do not indicate ice safety in every instance.  It is always important to follow safety practices when traveling on the ice including:

  • Tell someone your travel plans, route and estimated time of return
  • Wear proper gear such as a floater coat and carry survival equipment
  • If you don’t know, DON’T GO!

For these and more ice safety tips go to www.opp.ca.

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