Driver escapes after truck breaks through ice near Split Lake
Winter road not open yet, Split Lake band constable says
A construction worker escaped uninjured after his truck broke through an ice road near Split Lake on Wednesday.
Robert Bland was working on a winter road near the community and had to drive to the remote northern town to get supplies to fix his bulldozer.
But around noon, his half-ton truck started to sink.
"He came to a sudden stop and then half the vehicle went inside [the water] and he had to jump out through the side windows," said Split Lake band constable Trent Flett. "He told me that he jumped out and then he walked to the shore."
The ice road isn't open yet, but some people are taking chances driving across the lake.
"Ah he was wet – half his body," he said. "Good thing he had ski pants and boots. I think it must be -38, -40 with the wind chill … he didn't want to come change. I was trying to get him to come change and whatnot, but he just wanted to go home."
Flett picked Bland up and arranged a ride home to York Landing for him.
Flett said mild weather has delayed the opening of the winter road.
"We got a couple of calls from the Northern Store at the station. They saw the vehicle partly submerged. The truck is still in the water. The vehicle ahead of him managed to make it," he said. "He went through that shallow ice, and [his truck was] sinking [Wednesday] afternoon."
He said the community won't try to pull it out of the water because a front-end loader would be needed but it's too heavy for the ice right now.
"This is the first incident in several years. The ice hasn't fully frozen. The road should have been open already," said Flett. "People are entering at their own risk. We put barricades up already and they still try it."
Flett said they'll try to pull it out when the ice gets thicker, using chainsaws and augers.