MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 9-month-old girl is in critical condition Friday night after an SUV holding her parents and sister broke through the ice on Lake Minnetonka, authorities say.

The SUV went through the ice under the bridge between Halstead Bay and Priest Bay around 5 p.m., the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office said.

Paul Bardine, who lives near the bridge, says it’s not the first time a car has fallen through the channel.

“I own an ATV and I would never even take an ATV through the channel,” he said.

The two adults were able to escape the SUV and help the baby’s 2-year-old sister. But the 9-month-old proved harder to help.

The father dove down to try to rescue the baby about three times, Bardine said.

Four Mound firefighters responded to the scene in cold-water gear and tried to help her. Their gear, however, kept them from going underwater. Only after they unzipped their gear — and took in the frigid water — did they successfully rescue the girl, cutting her from her car seat.

She is currently in critical condition at a local hospital, the sheriff’s office said.

The parents and the 2-year-old were treated at the hospital and released.

Authorities say the family is from the area, and that they were likely driving on the lake for recreation. They have not been identified.

It should be noted that two other cars also went through the ice on Lake Minnetonka Friday night. One car went through in Echo Bay, the other went through in Excelsior Bay. All involved in those incidents got out OK.

All three of Friday’s incidents happened within two hours.


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