Coast Guard reminds outdoorsmen to practice ice safety after fatal accident on Lake Superior

Great Lakes Coast Guard News
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — The Coast Guard is reminding those who recreate on ice-covered waterways to take proper safety measures following the tragic death of a 34-year-old man who was riding a snowmobile and fell through the ice on Lake Superior Saturday afternoon.

A search-and-rescue coordinator at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie received a report from Ashland Central Dispatch of a snowmobiler who fell through the ice near Madeline Island in Bayfield, Wis. The SAR coordinator directed the launch of a rescue airboat crew from Coast Guard Station Bayfield and a rescue aircrew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich.

One witness of the accident attempted to rescue the subject but kept falling through the ice himself and was unable to successfully rescue the man.

An airboat crew from Madeline Island Fire Department arrived on scene and recovered the victim who was reportedly unresponsive after 45 minutes of being in the 33-degree Fahrenheit water.

Bayfield emergency medical services transported the man to Memorial Hospital in Ashland, Wis., where he was pronounced deceased. Next-of-kin notifications where conducted by La Pointe/Madeline Island Police Department.

For more information about dangerous ice conditions, click here.

The Coast Guard reminds those who choose to recreate on frozen waterways to never do so alone and always let someone onshore know where you are going and when you plan to return.  Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature, and be mindful of the environment you are in.

When venturing out, a person should think I.C.E.:

Intelligence – know the weather and ice conditions, know where you are going, and know how to call for help. Never go out alone.

Clothing – have the proper clothing to prevent hypothermia. Wear a waterproof exposure suit and a life preserver.

Equipment – have the proper equipment. Carry two ice picks or screwdrivers, in case you fall in. Use these items to dig into the ice and pull yourself out. They are more effective than bare hands! Carry a whistle or noise maker to alert people that you are in distress. Carry a cellular phone or marine band radio in a waterproof container so that you can call for help if you come across trouble.


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