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Vehicle falls through Lake Bemidji ice leaving 1 dead

A man has died after his vehicle fell through the Lake Bemidji ice on Friday evening.

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Barricades surround a hole in the ice near Diamond Point Park on Sunday morning, Dec. 26, 2021, after a vehicle broke through Lake Bemidji on Friday evening. (Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)
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BEMIDJI -- A man has died after his vehicle fell through the Lake Bemidji ice on Friday evening.

According to an original release from Bemidji Fire Chief Justin Sherwood, at 5:11 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 24, the fire department responded to a report that a vehicle had fallen through the ice with two people in the water near the 1700 block of Birchmont Drive NE.

A release from Beltrami County Sheriff Ernie Beitel was sent out late Saturday night with updated information explaining that one of the two people rescued has died.

"Upon the arrival of rescue personnel they found that an adult female was able to get out of the water on her own and was immediately transported to the (Sanford Bemidji Medical Center) for treatment," the release said. "An adult male from the vehicle was recovered from the water by a Bemidji firefighter wearing a cold water immersion suit and Beltrami County deputies."

The man was transported by ambulance to Sanford Bemidji while life-saving efforts were performed, he was later transported to the Sanford hospital in Fargo where he was pronounced deceased, the release said.

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According to scanner traffic at the time of the incident, the vehicle was estimated to be around 300 feet out from Diamond Point Park.

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Barricades surround a hole in the ice near Diamond Point Park on Sunday morning, Dec. 26, 2021, after a vehicle broke through Lake Bemidji on Friday evening. (Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)

"The area where the vehicle went through the ice is located adjacent to the Bemidji State University campus in 8-10 feet of water," the release explained. "The location has been barricaded as the ice in the area is unstable, much like many areas lakes."

Deputies estimated that the ice was about 4-5 inches deep at the location the vehicle broke through.

"We would also like to remind those who venture on area lakes that ice can be very inconsistent and can never be considered 100% safe," the release said.

The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office, Bemidji Fire Department, Bemidji Police Department and Bemidji Ambulance Service all assisted at the scene.

Related Topics: ACCIDENTSBEMIDJI NEWSLETTER
Annalise is the editor and a photographer at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is a Mass Communication graduate from Bemidji State University. Her favorite pastime is exploring the great outdoors and capturing its natural beauty on camera. Contact Annalise at (218) 333-9796, (218) 358-1990 or abraught@bemidjipioneer.com.
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