Minnesota ice deaths highest in five years
By Kevin Giles, Star Tribune
This winter could be the state's deadliest on the ice in more than five years, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said Friday.
So far this winter, five people have died and a sixth is missing and presumed drowned. In the 2006-2007 winter season, eight people died in ice-related incidents.
A week ago, one snowmobiler drowned in the St. Croix River near Bayport and another plunged through the ice and disappeared on the St. Croix in Pine County.
"There could be several reasons why so many people have died this year," said Kara Owens, DNR boat and water safety specialist. "It could be there are more people out on the ice because we have had a cooler winter and more snow."
All the fatalities this winter involved a snowmobile or vehicle either crashing into open water or breaking through the ice.
As the winter winds down and Minnesotans enter the last weekend in February, Owens has an urgent message for winter enthusiasts: "The bottom line is it's crucial that people do not let their guard down and recognize ice is never 100 percent safe."
The DNR measures the winter recreation season in Minnesota from November to April.
Last year, four people died in ice accidents. The same number died the previous winter. In winter 2009-2010, only one death was recorded.