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MN couple plays it cool; gets engaged on ice

If Lydia Thole and Andy LeBarge seemed kind of chill about being stranded with 200 people on a breakaway ice chunk, it's because of what happened shortly before.

By now you've heard about the 200 anglers rescued from a sheet of ice that broke off from the shore of Upper Red Lake.

Among them, Andy LeBarge and Lydia Thole.

Not long after dropping their lines, the Keewatin couple said they not only heard but also felt the ice crack – but didn’t think much of it at the time.

A short time later, a 911 call went out to the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office asking for their help to get dozens of anglers off a large sheet of ice that broke off and floated some 30 yards away from shore into open water.

"We felt the crack," Thole said. "We heard the crack, but we weren't sure. All of a sudden, we hear people screaming. We're like, 'Whatever, we're going to keep fishing. If we were in danger, they'd come tell us, right?'"

If they seemed kind of "chill" about the chaos around them, that's because of what had just happened, before all that.

LeBarge said he had been planning on proposing to Thole, his girlfriend of three years, for some time. He came up with the creative and very Minnesotan idea of tying the engagement ring onto her line when she wasn’t looking.

"I tied a special lure on for her," LeBarge said, "and tied the ring above the lure."

"Andy's like, 'There's a fish on your bobber.' I reel it up and there's the ring," said Thole. "He's on his knee and I'm like, 'Well, yeah!'" 

“My biggest worry sending it down there was if a fish actually grabbed it and snapped the line,” LeBarge said. "It happened to work out… because she said yes.”

Thole and LeBarge were among a group rescued by boat and brought back to shore. And while some would have been bummed about their proposal going wrong...

"I think it's awesome. It's such a good story," Thole said.

The couple says it only makes their love story "cooler."

The two plan to get married in September.

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