12/16/13 First Through the Ice
2013-13 Hi Larry, A guy
from Willow was following his buddies on the way to the Islander on
Sunday, and fell through the channel on a new Polaris that he’d
borrowed from a friend. The machine was successfully recovered
this afternoon by the rider, the owner of the machine, and another
friend of theirs who’d also been on the fateful ride. He luckily
had seen his friend drop through, and stopped before running over
him, or joining him in the drink. They retrieved the machine today
out of about 4 feet of water. The temperatures at the time
were hovering around minus 8, which didn’t make their job any
easier, but they were well equipped and even appeared to still be
friends when they were done. The
channel will be quite rough from the broken ice on that side, so
snowmachiners who normally blast through there will have to watch
out for stray chunks of ice. Carolyn
12/16/13 First Trough the Ice 2013-14 Photos
(story under Problem Corner) Flat Lake Channel
Recovery at Minus 8°F.
Using plywood to lever the machine out of the hole, just like
the Russians (see video below).
Up comes the machine.
...and onto the shore.
Tundraben DON'T DRIVE ON THE LAKE report I saw a truck driving along side of the road
this morning. A while later I got an email asking for
suggestions on how to get it out of the over flow as
it broke through the surface ice. I
suppose she got back on the road due to the berms from
driveways. She's stuck over at the west end point of
Long island. It looks like it could be pulled back but
who's going out?
went over to see and judging by the foot prints she
12/11/10: TUNDRABEN reports first car
through the ice: at Visqueen Point on Big Lake
Two from TUNDRABEN 12/8/009
A new species of Shepherd Island Dipper
Red Oaks' truck went in on Tundra
Channel ice report
Two snowmachiners went into the Flat
Lake channel in the dark last night,
riding side by side. When the
young lady I spoke with realized she was
going through the ice, she was most
frightened because she can't swim.
She stood on top of her machine until
her partner came back with help.
She had never heard of the problem with
thin ice in the channels. They
returned today to do a little of what
their rescuers called "redneck fishing."
- Larry Taylor (with thanks to Carolyn
for the alert)
I watched them pull out this snowmachine
and then found out there was another...
A rescuer hooking up to the second
Second machine coming out of the Flat
REPORT: Hey Larry did you get pics of
the truck that went through the ice today
between mud and flat lake??? This must have
happened between 930 and 1230 this am....the
windshield wipers were still going when I
got there, Mike called the troopers for me
and was told they already got the person or
persons out...so that is good news..!!
Wow! Dual reports...
I don't think you're supposed to
drive when you do a "Polar Bear
Plunge." I imagine the 2
people standing on the roof of this
truck were pretty cold by the time
the fire department got a ladder to
them that they could climb to shore.
It was about 5 below at the time.
Judy Strong got some good
pictures of yesterday's mishap at
the channel, and has shared them
with us. (Yeah, don't do anything
you don't want the world to see if
you're on Flat Lake!)
Same event, third set of photos 11/18/08
Note the suited up emergency worker
under the ladder making sure the
cold, wet survivor doesn't have to
get into the ice water again!
Photos and stories
that fell through the ice.
Look at the videos below, from ABC TV
News and our own Houston's "Big Lake IQ
if you plan to drive on ice.
Aside from vehicles,
people sometimes fall through the ice
unassisted by heavy machinery when the fates have decided
they need to cool off.
5/7/11 Larry falls through
the ice. I called Dale
and he called Shawn and
Larry, who skipped their
snowmachines to shore and
shoved Styrofoam blocks out
for me to climb out on.
The ice shard I'm holding is
eleven inches long, so
that's the ice depth.
No thickness of shard ice is
safe. Shawn Veech photo
Carolyn fell through 50 feet in front of
the Haggard cabin, and survived.
11/19/07 - Carolyn Haggard photo
Taylor, "Is the hole frozen over now?"
Carolyn, "I don't know, and I'm not all that
anxious to find out."
Last in, first out: The
last vehicle to go through the ice in
2009 was a snowmachine that broke
through in the Flat Lake Channel on New
Year's Eve. It was then the first
pulled out in 2010. Photos when
everyone was dried off and warmly
dressed that morning are posted in the
center and right columns to remind
people not to drive (or ride) through
the channels (which are now posted "Thin
Ice"). Water flows through the
channels and at the Big Lake outlet at
Fish Creek, keeping the ice thin even
though it was -10 ºF New Year's Eve. (It
was the second snowmachine that went
through after the first broke the ice.)
- Larry Taylor
Safe and warm after going through the
ice in the Flat Lake Channel.
OK, where do we hook onto it...
What's that warning sign on the bushes?
Aha! The sign says "Thin Ice!"
Good Dad retrieving the machine.
Maybe it looks OK, but don't ride
through the channels!
ABC News Channel 13 takes an interest in
FlatLake.com (with permission).
Jeff Ross notes that this newscast says
these cars went through on Flat Lake,
which is not accurate. They were
on Big Lake. There was thin ice when the first
snow fell, so if you were not able to
clear the snow off the ice early on,
make sure to measure it before driving
over it. Listen to Carolyn in the
newscast to hear about that. For the oil truck or the septic
truck to drive to your cabin this
winter, have your driveway
plowed to make it thicker
quicker. - Larry Taylor
"The Warm Guys"
Central Plumbing and Heating.
Submitted by Monika Patrick of Kathy's
Restaurant, Big Lake.
17-yr old drove a Grand Am onto the ice from North
Shore campground on 11/16/07. That's the
trunk showing (he was
- Carolyn Haggard report and photo, and
now a video of the event by Houston,
called "Big Lake IQ Test":
11/16/07 3" of ice was not enough
for this Grand Am 100 feet out from
the North shore Campground.
4-14-07 Dodge truck series
Another truck down! This one was on the the
West End of Big Lake ... and was the
2nd vehicle to go thru this spot ...
caused by ice fishermen drilling
holes directly in the road.
Happy Hooker got it out around 9pm
Monday (4/16/07). Todd's truck in Philpott's Cove in
Terry & Bridget Kincaid
11/21/12 - Mark Gordon tells quite a story:
the idiot who drove his pickup through the ice and to the bottom of
Big Lake at Burnt Point on 14 November 2012. I
vehicle tracks in the fresh snow nearly to Burnt Point. They went to
a house nearby. I foolishly figured it was safe all the way to the
point, and followed 4-wheeler tracks in the snow right up to my new
swimming hole. Big mistake. I
should have known better, but didn’t realize how late Burnt Point
stays open. The first time I drove on Big Lake was 1975, and I’ve
ice fished Burnt Point for decades.
truck has a plow on the front, and it went down FAST. I estimate
that the water there is 25’ to 30’ deep. I was trapped in the
cab for what I estimate was a minute. I couldn’t hold my breath
much longer, but finally got out and swam to the surface. It took an
additional 7-10 minutes to get out of the water and onto the ice. A
propane tank (used to power my ice fishing tent heater) floated to
the surface and served as a life ring. Without it, I couldn’t have
gotten out on the ice.
two ladies who are caregivers for Mr. Gantz on Lighthouse Road saw
the truck go down and called both the Big Lake Fire Department as
well as a man who lived nearby. He walked out and guided me to the
Gantz home where I was able to stay warm while waiting for the EMTs.
Nearly a week later, my fingers are still numb. I hope there is no
had close brushes with death before, but this one may have been the
closest. Just as I was accepting the possibility of drowning, the
11/23/12 - How to be safe driving on the ice:
A few people have written in about the scary story Mark wrote,
saying their loved ones were already afraid of driving on the ice.
So I suggested Carolyn Haggard tell us how to do it safely, and she
complied. - LT
Carolyn wrote: "Checking ice thickness is pretty simple. Just
draw a ruler on the bar of a chainsaw with a felt pen. Cut straight
down into the ice with the chainsaw, and watch the marks as they
pass into the ice. You'll know immediately when you are through the
ice and into the water- the saw will start spraying water out, and
there won't be any resistance. We figure, after viewing a few ice
safety charts and through experience, that 6" of clear ice will
hold cars and small trucks. Full-size pick-ups are fine on 8".
We have a heavy 3/4 ton chevy with a plow that weighs over 900 lbs,
so we prefer to wait until we have 10" to 12" before we
bring that on. It's important to check thickness as you go, about
every 100' or so, if the thickness is consistent, and more often if
it varies by more than an inch or so, or if you are unfamiliar with
when different areas of the lake froze. Air temps that stay above
freezing will require more ice thickness to provide the same degree
of support. And in the spring the ice begins to deteriorate and will
develop holes and soft spots."
The dark shape sticking out of the ice
is the wheel of a 4-wheeler in the Flat
Lake Channel. Second breakthrough
in two days. The thin ice warning
sign and the stop sign are on both sides
of the channel. The two riders,
including a 3-year old child, are OK.
Snares Two More
(with a 1/3/10
Incredible as it
may seem, Dan
went through the
ice in the Flat
Lake Channel and
today when a
Flat Lake over
the ice in the
Dan stopped the
20-year old girl
and asked if she
hadn't seen the
said she had but
that they were
from Big Lake
and always ride
the channel, but
this time aimed
right at the
hole in the ice
left by the
Dan ran toward
it waving his
arms to get it
to stop, but it
right into the
ran and helped
the lady (the
mother) out and
was amazed to
see a 3-year old
pop up out of
the ice water.
Dan pulled the
woman out and
says the girl
must have pulled
the child out.
They were being
followed by a
truck on the ice
stopped for them
to get in and
remains in the
One of its
sticking out of
the ice, as seen
in the photo to
Let's hope no
one hits it.
Kruse adds that
the first woman
was riding a
The child was
it popped out of
The mother ran,
too, and made
what Dan called
a "Pete Rose
Dive" across the
ice, scooped her
child into her
arms and rolled
from the edge of
the hole on the
did not break.
I asked Dan if
he thought they
and he said he
did not think
so; it was a
It looked like such a good place to park.
What NOT to do with
wife's car while she's out of town! Mike
Szymanski is now a member of the elite
group!! - Cathy Mayfield
Photo thanks to Cam Hodge
Did the occupants have to rip through the roof to get
The channels are fairly shallow.
Note the windscreens on the
snowmachines on the trailer behind this one.