By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With the start of a New Year and winter well underway, Minnesotans are eager to get out on the ice.

“We have ice fisherman here that are revving their gears here,” Hennepin County Water Patrol Deputy Alan Lange said.

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But water patrol officials say people need to take extra precaution. Over the weekend two people went through the ice while riding an ATV pulling a portable fish house on Lake Minnetonka. They were able to get out of the water unharmed.

“It can happen in an instant,” Lange said. “You can have safe here and move over ten feet and not have safe ice.”

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The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol unit says right now, no one should be driving cars or trucks out on the ice.

If you do go out walking, Lange recommends an ice chisel to listen for solid-sounding ice, and ice picks to help pull yourself out of the water if you do go in.

The ice was at 9 inches Tuesday morning in Spring Park Bay. Officials say it will take a string of sub-zero temperatures to improve the ice safety.

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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommends at least 4 inches of ice for safe walking, 5 to 7 inches for snowmobiling or ATVing, and 12 to 15 inches to support a large vehicle or truck.

Kate Raddatz