Snowmobiler Who Died In Icy Lake Identified

By Edgar Linares, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

NEVIS, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — Authorities have named the young man who drowned last week in an icy lake.

Eighteen-year-old Lukas Neubarth died last Thursday after his snowmobile that was towing a fishing shack hit an open spot on Third Crow Wing Lake in northern Minnesota.

Now the Department of Natural Resources wants to warn people about the dangers on lakes.

“Ice is never 100 percent safe,” said, Tim Smalley, water safety specialist for DNR. “You can always find a bad spot on just about any body of water during the coldest part of the winter. Sometimes the ice doesn’t freeze very quickly.”

Smalley said springs under the surface of the water can also bring warm water up, creating open sports.

The DNR reports on an average winter they’ll have five or six ice related deaths. Last winter they had one and now they’re at three for this season. The first drowning happened on Dec. 2 at Lake Washington near Mankato. The second happened at Lake Alexander in Morrison County on Dec. 4.

Smalley says the heavy snow from this season is also making things dangerous.

“It causes a great deal of slush. It pushes down on the surface of the ice, making it a kind of bowl shape, and then the water bubbles up through cracks,” he said.

The snow also lessons the weight ice can support making it dangerous for snowmobiles, ATVs, and trucks.

“Generally we see 60 percent of ice-related drownings occur with somebody in some kind of vehicle,” said Smalley.

To be safe, the DNR recommends staying off the ice at night in a vehicle because it makes opening hard to see. Also, check the condition of the ice with a local bait shop before you head out.

“We recommended a minimum of 8 to 10 inches of ice for your standard size vehicle. If you have a larger vehicle a foot is necessary. But the problem is with a foot of snow on the lakes you probably need twice that,” Said Smalley.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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