Accident serves as reminder of unsafe ice conditions

Essexville, Mich. - Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Jason Betzing waits for a fellow Coast Guardsman to rescue him from a hole in the ice-covered Saginaw Bay in Lake Huron during ice rescue training Jan. 25, 2011. The training is part of a four-day school where Coast Guard men and women come to the Ice Capabilities Center of Excellence at Station Saginaw River in Essexville, Mich., to learn the proper techniques for rescuing people on ice-covered bodies of water. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Jorgensen)

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Office Lauren Jorgensen

MILWAUKEE – A vehicle broke through the ice in lower Green Bay, Wisc., Wednesday morning, prompting Coast Guard personnel at Sector Lake Michigan to remind the public of the dangers of traveling by car, all-terrain vehicle or snowmobile onto weakened ice.

The driver of the truck escaped uninjured and walked to shore to notify local authorities.

Recent fluctuating temperatures have made ice weak and unstable.

Those who choose to recreate on the ice are encouraged to adhere to the following safety recommendations:

  • Consider the weather. Warmer temperatures may weaken the ice and strong winds may break the ice;
  • Never go out on the ice alone;
  • Don’t rely on cellular phones to communicate distress – VHF-FM radios are much more reliable in the maritime environment. If trouble arises, call for help on FM Channel 16, the international hailing and distress frequency;
  • Carry a whistle or other sound-producing device to alert people you are in distress;
  • Carry a flashlight or flares to signal for help;
  • Dress in layers and bright colors and wear an anti-exposure suit with a personal flotation device;
  • Ensure you notify a trusted family member or friend of where you will go on the ice, your destination, who is with you, and when you will return;
  • Carry some type of “ice awls” – ice picks or screwdrivers – that can be used as spikes to pull yourself up if you break through the ice;
  • Stay away from cracks, seams, pressure ridges and slushy areas, which signify thinner ice;

To report a person in distress by telephone, contact your nearest Coast Guard station or dial 911.

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