"Unbelievable:" 15 vehicles fall through ice at Lake Geneva's Winterfest

LAKE GENEVA -- More than a dozen cars fell through the ice at Lake Geneva's Winterfest Saturday afternoon, February 6th.

According to the Lake Geneva Police Department, fifteen vehicles in total had broken through the ice and were partially submerged in the water.

Of the 15 vehicles that broke through the ice, five were able to be driven from the scene. The remaining ten vehicles sustained severe water damage and are believed to be a total loss.

The scene was a mess. Crews worked for hours trying to get the cars out.

"It's unbelievable," said Jody Fuller, Lake Geneva.

In Lake Geneva, a weekend of fun took a wrong turn.

"Kind of mind-blowing," said Thomas Marver-Benz.

As people packed Winterfest, all attention turned from the snow sculptures to the lake.


"The cars were parked, there were like three or four rows and it was puddles," said Fuller.

Fuller and her family saw the writing on the wall as melting ice started surrounding rows of parked.

"We drove by and thought in about three hours, those cars are going to be underwater," said Fuller.

Around 2:00 p.m., it happened -- fifteen vehicles started sinking into the lake.

"I think the weight of those vehicles and the sun beating down on them loosened the ice up underneath them and caused them to break apart," said Lieutenant Ed Gritzner, Lake Geneva Police Department.

Day turned into night and for hours, crews worked to save the cars. The deepest water reaching 15 feet.

"Heed the warning, you travel at your own risk, but we don't recommend anybody go on the ice because of this type of situation," said Gritzner.

A lesson for everyone from a situation no one will soon forget.

Luckily, no one was hurt in all of this.

The City of Lake Geneva Police Department was assisted by the City of Lake Geneva Fire/EMS Department, Town of Linn Fire Department, and Town of Delavan Fire Department, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Walworth County Sheriff's Office and the Racine Fire Bells.