Two Wisconsin teenagers learned an important lesson about the dangers of ice this weekend after finding themselves stranded on a tiny floe in Lake Michigan.
Milwaukee’s FOX 6 reported on Saturday that firefighters and coast guard officials were called to an area of the lake's shoreline near Racine, Wis., when two young males were spotted floating away on the ice.
The young men, ages 17 and 18, had reportedly been "jumping" near the edge of the frozen lake when the ice they were standing on broke free and starting drifting.
Within minutes, the icy raft had carried them about 40 metres from shore.
Fortunately, one of the young men on the ice had a phone to call for help.
Divers to the rescue
The Racine Fire Department and Kenosha’s coast guard unit arrived at approximately 12:40 p.m. and went to work.
Fire department battalion chief Willie Hargrove told Wisconsin’s TMJ4 that three divers from his crew went into the water wearing scuba gear. The rescuers put life-jackets on the teens, pulled their floe to shore, and used a ladder to help them out of the lake.
"We just kind of pulled them closer to shore, and then when they got closer to shore where the guys were close enough, where they could touch the bottom, then they basically just went on the other side and walked the ice right up to the shore," said Hargrove.
The teens were assessed by paramedics when they hit land again at approximately 1:10 p.m. and, aside from being a bit cold, were determined to be just fine.
But their story could have ended on a much darker note, Hargrove warned.
"Not the smartest thing, to put yourself in that position," he said to TMJ4. "Hopefully they learned a lesson."
This case marks the second close call in less than a week involving lake ice.
On March 5, a man was plucked off Lake St. Clair near Detroit by the U.S. Coast Guard.
When asked what he was doing in the middle of the frozen lake, the 25-year-old U.S. man told rescuers he had been attempting to walk from Detroit to Toronto.
The man, who was not wearing flotation gear or sufficient winter clothing, was treated for hypothermia and taken to hospital.