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Pickup goes through Lake Irving ice

Employees of a tow trucking company look over the best way to extract a truck that went through the ice about 50 feet from the south Lake Irving boat access on Friday afternoon. No one was injured in the incident, and the driver of the truck was attempting to clear snow off the ice to help make it thicker. (Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- Yet another Bemidji-area resident avoided injury after their vehicle went into a lake -- this time while attempting to plow snow off of the lake surface in order to make thicker, safer ice.  

At approximately 1 p.m. Friday, police sighted an unknown-model GMC pickup truck with a plow attachment that had fallen through the ice on Lake Irving near Woodland Avenue. The owner of the truck, James George, 63, Bemidji, was not injured. Police said George usually plows portions of the lake in order to prevent ice insulation and make a thicker, safer surface. Tow trucks were working on the scene Friday afternoon to dislodge the truck from the ice and slush.

Friday’s incident comes just more than a week since a 55-year-old man accidentally plunged an SUV through Lake Bemidji ice Dec. 12. He also was uninjured.

That incident, as well as reports of vehicles breaking through ice in other counties last week, prompted the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to warn that ice remains too thin.

“Ice is never 100 percent safe,” the DNR's Greg Salo said Thursday. "Winter recreationists need to think twice before driving out on the ice because the ice in many places is still not strong enough to support vehicles.

Last winter, six people died from breaking through ice with snowmobiles or vehicles, the DNR reported.

The DNR recommends the following thicknesses:

  • 4 inches for walking.

  • 5 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle.

  • 8 to 12 inches for a car.

  • 12 to 15 inches for a medium-sized truck.

Forum Capitol Bureau Reporter Don Davis contributed to this report.

Zach Kayser
Zach Kayser covers local government and city issues for the Pioneer. He previously worked for the Wadena Pioneer Journal, and is an alumni of the University of Minnesota, Morris. 
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