UTV through Lake Winnebago ice, conditions unsafe: officials

Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Office

A utility terrain vehicle (UTV) went through the Lake Winnebago ice Thursday evening, March 17. No injuries were reported, according to Fond du Lac Fire/Rescue.

The Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Office and Fond du Lac police were called to the Garden Drive area shortly before 7 p.m. It was reported that the UTV had gone through the ice roughly a quarter-mile from shore.

Upon arrival, crews found the occupants who had been able to get out of the vehicle and were standing on the ice near the UTV. 

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The temperature at the time was 54 degrees, officials said. Fire/Rescue said the UTV went through the ice in an area where there was no active crack and no visible hazards. The ice thickness was approximately 8 inches, but had been "significantly weakened" by rain and increased temperatures, becoming "honeycombed" – conditions that generally cannot support the weight of a person on foot let alone a vehicle. Crews reported the ice "sagging" under their feet as they made their way the vehicle

The water was 3-4 feet deep where the UTV had gone through the ice. The occupants were trying to remove the vehicle from the water, officials said, and fire and EMS personnel were "unable to convince" them to leave the ice.

Fond du Lac Fire/Rescue reminds the community that ice conditions on Lake Winnebago are never 100% safe. 

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