Having moved to Minnesota from Florida, my scariest aquatic experience involved a water temperature below 80 degrees, until Tuesday. I put on a protective “mustang” suit, ready for a mock water rescue in icy Lake Minnetonka with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol. Not yet at ice’s edge, I was already panic stricken. I can’t imagine this as my job.
With 104 lakes and three rivers in Hennepin County alone, Sheriff Rich Stanek says it’s a busy time for ice rescues in Minnesota. “Maybe you had subzero temperatures, but you’re going to go through,” Stanek said. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s office responded to 25 rescue calls out on the lakes last winter from people falling through the ice. Three people were killed. “The most important thing is to stay calm,” he said.