MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 22-year-old man died after snowmobiling on the St. Croix River. Washington County authorities say he drove past warning signs and right into open water.

Now, Washington County Sheriff’s Sergeant James Gribble says snowmobiling on any river is dangerous.

“You can measure the ice on one location on the river and it can be ten inches thick and you can go three to five feet away and it can two or three inches thick, and that’s just the nature of the river, the bottom being not perfectly flat,” Gribble said.

WCCO’s Susie Jones Interviews Gribble

In Pine County, three people were snowmobiling on the Kettle River and were coming upon the St Croix River when one of them hit open water.

Pine County Chief Deputy Steven Blackwell says the water is very turbulent in that area. He says they searched last night and divers went into the freezing water, but could not locate the man. They suspended the search at around noon Sunday.

Blackwell says it’s important when going out as a group, to know the route you plan to take, and stop if there’s any question about what’s ahead.

He added that it’s not just the person on the sled that could be hurt.

“It’s the first responders. It’s your friends who want to save you. You could potentially put your whole group into jeopardy. So, when groups go out, it’s important for them to know where they are going and the path they are going to take, and if they get into unfamiliar areas, they should stop,” Blackwell said.

WCCO’s Susie Jones Interviews Blackwell

Blackwell said another man was critically injured when he hit a hidden hump caused by a partially submerged island, and was thrown from the sled. That man is listed in critical condition at an area hospital.


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