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Our view: Don’t take chance on ice

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 5:37 p.m. CDT

An ATV rider who fell through the ice on Bangs Lake in Wauconda last week is a lucky man.

He clung to a tire until rescuers were able to pull him, alive, from the water.

With that in mind, we wouldn’t advise taking any chances on frozen-over lakes, ponds and other bodies of water this winter. Not with temperatures rising and falling above freezing as frequently as they have.

Last week, the area shivered through several days of single-digit temperatures. Then, on Tuesday, we experienced a record high, with the thermometer topping 60 degrees in some areas.

Who knows what to make of the roller-coaster ride we’ve been on this winter. We do know this: Whether you’re looking to ice-skate, snowmobile, ice-fish or whatever, don’t take any chances when considering venturing out onto iced-over bodies of water. If there’s any doubt, just don’t do it.

Last year, two area residents died after falling through the ice within two weeks of each other.

An ice fisherman fell through the ice into Pistakee Bay on Feb. 3. A couple of weeks later, a well-known Johnsburg home builder fell through the ice of a neighborhood pond while taking his son ice skating. Both deaths were tragic.

There are ways to determine whether ice is safe to tread on – assessing its color, texture, thickness, and adding in recent temperatures, the size of the body of water, and other factors. But if you’re not an expert, you shouldn’t pretend to be one.

Yes, there’s fun to be had on frozen ponds and lakes. But it’s not worth taking the chance if you’re not 100 percent sure that the ice is safe. If you’re not 100 percent sure, don’t take that chance.

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