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Multiple incidents of ATV riders falling through thin ice in west central Minnesota

People riding ATVs on lakes broke through thin ice Saturday, Dec. 26, in Stearns County and also in Kandiyohi County. A similar incident was reported Friday at Games Lake in Kandiyohi.

Not all lakes and rivers with thin ice have these warning signs. Experts say people who go onto ice should check its depth regularly to make sure it is safe. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources photo
Not all lakes and rivers with thin ice have these warning signs. Experts say people who go onto ice should check its depth regularly to make sure it is safe. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources photo
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WILLMAR, Minn. — Law enforcement is asking people to check ice conditions after at least three incidents where people fell through thin ice have been reported in the region.

People riding ATVs on lakes broke through thin ice Saturday, Dec. 26, in Stearns County and also in Kandiyohi County. A similar incident was reported Friday at Games Lake in Kandiyohi.

Cory Hanson, 42, and Lori Hanson, 44, of Avon, had been operating their 2017 Polaris Ranger side by side ATV on the far north end of Two Rivers Lake on Saturday when they broke through a section of thin ice, according to the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office.

Both were able to escape the sinking ATV and make it safely out of the water to a nearby icehouse. Their ATV is submerged in approximately 27 feet of water.

Hanson reportedly has made arrangements with a private tow service to have the ATV removed from the lake.

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“The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone to be cautions on lake ice and to be sure of ice thickness in areas that they may be traveling on,” read a news release from the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office about the incident, reported at 4:58 p.m.. “Several lakes in the area, Two Rivers, Big Fish and Middle Spunk, to name several, have had recent waterfowl activity that would potentially cause areas of thin ice.”

Also on Saturday, a 46-year-old New London man was riding his ATV when it broke through the ice near the point of Norway and Little Norway lakes in northwest Kandiyohi County.

The man was able to climb out onto the ice and was assisted by a fishing partner. His side-by-side ATV sank in 6 to 7 feet of water.

The man, who has not been identified, was uninjured in the incident, which was reported at 3:19 p.m.

On Friday, a 60-year-old Rogers man fell through the ice Friday afternoon on Games Lake, about 9 miles west of New London in Kandiyohi County.

According to the Sheriff's Office, the man, whose name has not been released, was driving a 2019 Can-Am Defender when it broke through a portion of thin ice about 2:09 p.m. Friday and sank in 6 to 7 feet of water.

The man was not injured and had climbed out onto the ice and it was reported that he safely walked back to his cabin before law enforcement arrived.

Ice conditions in Minnesota can be checked at https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/index.html .

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at mwasson@postbulletin.com.
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