At least 4 people, and 1 snowmobile, have broken through the ice in Yellowknife Bay

Darcy Bourassa was just walking around his house on Tuesday when 'I must have stepped right in the perfect spot and went through.'

'I just went back into my house and stripped naked and got the fire going,' says houseboater

Darcy Bourassa points to the spot on Yellowknife Bay where he fell through the ice. (Randi Beers/CBC)

Darcy Bourassa was just walking around his house on Tuesday when "I must have stepped right in the perfect spot and went through."

Bourassa, who lives on a houseboat in Yellowknife Bay, says it happened on ice he'd already walked on, and even run his snowmobile on. He went in up to his chest and managed to pull himself out.

"I just went back into my house and stripped naked and got the fire going," he said.

Later on, he measured the ice next to the hole and found it was about 1.5 inches thick, and then two inches and then, 15 or 20 feet away, up to eight inches thick.

"What I think was happening here is there's a lot of snow built up it's really insulated in the snow and it hasn't been cold this fall or this winter so there's not a lot of ice penetration underneath that snow."

Not alone

Bourassa is one of at least four people who've gone through the lake ice in the area in the past two weeks.

A snowmobile also broke through the ice Thursday, on the eastern side of Yellowknife Bay.

Eleven snowmobiles drove this trail in succession. The twelfth broke through the ice, submerging its rider, who was otherwise OK. (Great Slave Snowmobile Association)

It was the last in a line of 12 snowmobiles traveling together, said Bruce Hewlko, past president of the Great Slave Snowmobile Association.

The driver was fully submerged, but OK, he said, and companions managed to tie a rope around the machine for later rescue.

One area good, another bad

The GSSA helps the city to test the ice every year. All tested areas had reached six inches — which means it's safe for vehicles — last month.

But Hewlko has also seen uneven freezing.

"I was on Walsh Lake last weekend, I chopped a hole 12 inches, I didn't hit water. I got to the North end of Banting [Lake] and there's a big hole, somebody had probably dropped the back of their machine through.

"So one area is good, another is bad. Why? I don't know."

Hewlko is urging people to be extra cautious on all lakes, and to report bad ice when they find it.

Bourassa also has some advice for people thinking about walking, or driving, on any ice.

"Just because you see tracks doesn't mean it's safe for the second person to go."

With files from Randi Beers