Authorities issued a stern warning to the public after rescuing two men and their dog who fell through thin ice while fishing on a frozen lake in Anoka County, Minnesota.
CBS News Minnesota reported that on the afternoon of Sunday, Dec. 3, the sheriff’s office responded to a report of the pair and their canine trapped in the dangerously cold water after the ice caved in. A bystander who lived near the lake called in the report after he began hearing the fishermen scream.
Deputies Chris Fjeld and Curt Grabmeier were among the first to arrive at the scene. Without wasting time, they began the rescue operation to bring the three back to the shore. According to Fjeld, both fishermen were already exhibiting signs of hypothermia. For this reason, they couldn’t wait until backup arrived.
“They were starting to lose their ability to process rational thought,” Deputy Fjeld told the news outlet. “I was concerned that they might not [fare] very well if I didn’t go out immediately.”
With the help of his partners, who tied a rope around him, a brave Fjeld carefully crawled across the frozen body of water. “On thin ice, it’s important to disperse your weight over [the] greatest amount of surface area you can,” Fjeld narrated.
Moments later, the panic-stricken pair and their canine were out of the freezing waters and safely onto the shore, thanks to the swift actions of Fjeld and his team.
Both men were taken to a local hospital for treatment. Authorities didn’t disclose if the dog also showed signs of hypothermia and whether they received medical treatment after the heroic rescue.
Residents cautioned after fishermen and dog fell through ice
Deputy Fjeld emphasized the need for people to exercise proper judgment before going fishing this winter.
“I always encourage people that ice is never 100% safe, and if you’re going to go out take proper safety precautions.”
In a statement provided to The Washington Times, the sheriff’s office also urged residents to beware of the risks that come with fishing on frozen water bodies.
“The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office wishes to remind the community that the ice on some Minnesota lakes and ponds is not thick enough to walk on,” the statement read. “By walking onto the ice when it is still too thin, you are putting yourself at significant risk of falling through and experiencing hypothermia or death.”
Moreover, the sheriff’s office encouraged residents planning on partaking in this enjoyable wintertime activity to “visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’s website for a guide on how thick the ice needs to be before walking or driving on it.”