Ice fisherman fights frostbite after Lake Winnipeg rescue

A man whose truck went through the ice on Lake Winnipeg is dealing with severe frostbite on his feet.
Searchers head across Lake Winnipeg to look for Al Hadley on Wednesday. (CBC)

A man whose truck went through the ice on Lake Winnipeg is dealing with severe frostbite on his feet.

Al Hadley, 54, lost his boots and ended up in freezing water after the incident late Wednesday afternoon near Beaconia Beach on the lake's east side.

He and friend Jody Saniuk, 51, were taking part in an ice-fishing derby when the weather turned bad. They were leaving their fishing spot when the truck broke through the ice.

Saniuk called 911 on his cellphone but it went dead. Hadley lost his boots scrambling out of the truck.

The two men then managed to make it to shore with blowing snow reducing visibility to a distance not much farther than a few feet.

Hadley was hurt and his feet frozen, making it too difficult for him to continue.

He remained on shore while Saniuk walked for a few kilometers until he found an occupied home near Patricia Beach and called RCMP.

He directed searchers to where Hadley was but due to the conditions and darkness setting in, it took a while for Hadley to be located.

Marilyn Hadley said her husband was outside for seven hours. The weather at the time was about –17 C but with a windchill that made it feel like –30 C.

Hadley is now in a Winnipeg hospital where doctors are trying to save his feet.

"He's hanging in there. He's doing great," said Marilyn. "The biggest worry is his feet because he has been through tremendous frostbite.

"That's about our biggest worry right now. They've got to take it slow and let them thaw out slowly."

She said her husband is in good spirits considering all he's been through.

Saniuk was not seriously hurt and is doing fine.