LAKE LILLIAN, Minn. - A south central Minnesota man was airlifted Thursday after his ATV plunged through the thin ice of a Kandiyohi County lake.
Sheriff Daniel Hartog says it happened on Big Kandiyohi Lake around 7:15 a.m. A 911 caller told dispatchers that someone had gone through the ice about 200 yards from shore on the lake's south side.
The Blomkest Fire Department ice rescue team went into the water in cold water suits and were able to pull 49-year-old William Wurtz of Hanska to dry land. He was airlifted to St. Cloud Hospital, where his condition is unknown.
The incident comes on the same day the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued a warning about ice conditions across the state. Water safety experts with the Department of Natural Resources remind people not to walk on a lake until there’s at least 4 inches of new, clear ice, and even then, they should And they should check conditions at least every 150 feet.
“No fish is worth the risk of going through thin ice,” said DNR conservation officer Adam Block. “At this point, it is going to take several consecutive days of below-freezing temperatures before enough solid ice has formed to support foot traffic, and even longer before ATVs and snowmobiles should be on the ice.”
Of the six ice fatalities in 2017, five occurred during the early ice season of late November and early December. All of those fatalities occurred while the victim was on an ATV or snowmobile. The extra weight of an ATV (especially the popular side-by-side styles, which are heavier) or snowmobile needs to be considered when calculating how much ice is needed to support the machines, gear and passengers.