LAKE WINNEBAGO (WITI) -- It may seem like spring is taking forever to arrive -- but by now the ice should probably be considered off-limits. Two men learned a lesson on Sunday, March 30th -- when their trucks went through the ice, and into Lake Winnebago after ice conditions deteriorated rapidly.
"We just had a very bad day," Robert Lobajeski of West Allis told FOX6 News.
It was supposed to be the last ride of the season. Forecasted temperatures were in the 50s -- but still, Robert Lobajeski drove to Lake Winnebago to plow an ice track for his friends.
"It was kind of, maybe I should, maybe I shouldn't. There was probably, at the time, 30 inches of ice out there," Lobajeski said.
It was a typical Sunday, until Lobajeski decided to call it a day.
"I was just coming and picking up the cones. I was about ready to pick up the last two cones. Just driven off the track, and my whole truck just sunk," Lobajeski said.
All four tires dropped through the ice.
"It's like, oh crap, I'm stuck," Lobajeski said.
His Chevy truck was resting on its frame -- and Lobajeski was able to open his door and climb out. He called his brother over for a tow.
"That's when my brother went through. He had to get out through his window. Same thing -- he's like oh crap, I'm stuck," Lobajeski said.
They called in a dive and rescue service -- but as the day went on, their trucks sank further -- into seven feet of water.
Experts say the ice on Lake Winnebago went from 32 inches to 24 inches in a matter of hours, and conditions were crumbling.
The DNR says it may feel like spring is slow in arriving in southeastern Wisconsin, but the ice should be considered off-limits.
"All the rules of safety about ice thickness and what it can support goes right out the window of this year, because you could have a foot of ice and it would be rotten ice and wouldn't even support a person," Matt Coffaro with the DNR said.
"You just have to be careful. Even players have a bad day," Lobajeski said.
Lobajeski says his truck remains in Lake Winnebago. His brother's truck is out -- but both are likely a total loss.
Lobajeski says he's been plowing tracks on Lake Winnebago for a decade now. He says he knows the risks, but the conditions that day surprised them.