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Monday, February 8, 2010

Cars Falling Through Ice Keep WI Tower Busy

Here's the story from

The cars through the ice on Lake Winnebago are keeping Don Herman with Sunk Dive and Towing busy.

“I average about 30 a year, we're at number 14 already,” said Herman.

The team was on its fourth car retrieval of the day Sunday afternoon. Three of the vehicles were at Lake Winnebago, and they all fell through on Saturday. That’s a bit surprising for Herman.

“There's 21 inches of ice out on the lake,” he said.

Herman said ice conditions are actually better this year than in years past. So why are so many cars falling through the ice?

“It's gotta be inexperience I would think,” said ice fisherman Louie Cummings.

Some ice fishermen on the lake said people who aren't familiar with the lake, and don't know a lot about driving on the ice, are the ones falling through. And Herman agrees.

“They're driving where they're not supposed to be. There's cracks out there, and they jump them and they're not making it,” said Herman.

All the people in the vehicles survived without any injuries. But that isn't always the case. Just last month, 39-year-old Todd Rupert of Van Dyne died in Lake Winnebago. He was building a reef with the group Walleyes for Tomorrow when his dump truck fell through the ice; sending the message that even experienced people are susceptible to accidents.

“I've always said, the lake is never 100 percent safe,” said Herman.

But ice fisher Ken Schuh said it's rare those used to the lake would fall through. And he thinks a majority of the incidents happen because of where the people are driving.

“It's obvious you don't drive by a river, that should be a known thing for as many years as this lakes been around,” said Schuh.

Herman said those who take risks and aren't careful on the ice, could take the biggest risk of all, ending up in the water.

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