Teen treated for hypothermia after snowmobile falls through ice at Little Rock Lake

Open water on Little Rock Lake in Benton County. Photo courtesy of Benton County Sheriffs Office (Supplied)

A 16-year-old boy was treated for hypothermia after his snowmobile fell through the ice on Little Rock Lake in Benton County. 

According to the Benton County Sheriff's Office, officers received a call around 11:30 a.m. Friday with a witness saying they had seen a snowmobile fall through the ice and disappear below the water. The caller then reported seeing the 16-year-old driver climb out of the water and back onto the ice. 

The victim drove his snowmobile onto the lake, and about a half mile from shore the victim noticed open water on his path, law enforcement said. The teen attempted to stop his snowmobile but wasn't able to avoid falling into the water. 

Authorities say the teen was treated for hypothermia at the scene, and was later taken to the hospital to continue treatment. 

The Benton County Sheriff's Office warns that even with the recent drop in temperatures, thin ice and open water is still apparent on Little Rock Lake. People going out onto the ice should exercise extreme caution, the sheriff's office said. 

For those who choose to venture out, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says the ice is never 100% safe, but there are some guidelines to help minimize the risk. Among them: 

  • Always wear a life jacket or float coat on the ice (except when in a vehicle).
  • Carry ice picks, rope, an ice chisel and tape measure.
  • Check ice thickness at regular intervals; conditions can change quickly.
  • Bring a cell phone or personal locator beacon.
  • Don’t go out alone; let someone know about trip plans and expected return time.
  • Before heading out, inquire about conditions and known hazards with local experts.
  • Parents and guardians should talk with their children about staying away from the ice unless there’s adult supervision. This includes lakes and rivers, as well as neighborhood ponds, retention ponds and anywhere ice forms.