Snowmobiles break through ice on 2 different Minnesota lakes, 1 dead

Photo courtesy of Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office

One person died and two others suffered hypothermia after snowmobiles went through the ice and into lakes in two separate incidents in Minnesota Monday. 

The first incident occurred on Serpent Lake in Crosby. According to the Crow Wing County sheriff’s office, a local police officer heard calls for help coming from the lake around 5:30 a.m. Divers eventually located the victim in approximately 45 feet of water. He was deceased. 

Authorities determined the snowmobile had driven onto the lake and traveled approximately halfway across the bay before going through the ice. 

The victim has been identified as Anthony Bjerkness, 34, of Ironton. 

More than a 100 miles northeast of Crosby, another snowmobile went through the ice, stranding the two people on board. Shortly after 12:30 p.m. 

The second incident took place on a lake more than 100 miles northwest of Crosby. Shortly after 12:30 p.m., the St. Louis County sheriff’s office received a report that two people had fallen through the ice on St. Mary’s Lake near Eveleth. 

When first responders arrived, they found a 39-year-old and a 36-year-old man clinging onto the ice in what was now a large area of open water. According to the sheriff’s office, the two men had been traveling on a snowmobile and pulling a portable ice house and fishing gear when they broke through the ice. 

The men were in the water for approximate 30 to 45 minutes before first responders rescued them. They were treated at a nearby hospital for hypothermia and exposure. 

In light of the two recent incidents, authorities are reminding people that “ice on our lakes is never 100 percent safe.” 

Ice conditions are unpredictable and can vary from lake to lake. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommends contacting a local bait shop or lakeside resort to ask about ice conditions before heading out, as well as checking the ice thickness yourself once you get to the lake.