NEW ALBIN - Anglers are being urged by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to exercise additional caution after four ice fishermen broke through the ice Saturday morning on a backwater of the Mississippi River in Allamakee County.
"This is has been a particularly unusual winter with periods of thawing and then re-freezing. The ice conditions are very unpredictable," said DNR Conservation Officer Bill Collins.
"We have literally seen areas where there is two feet of ice and not too far away it's less than a half-an-inch, especially on the rivers where there is a current underneath. People need to be especially cautious right now and make sure the ice is safe before they go out particularly on rivers where currents underneath the ice make conditions particularly unpredictable," Collins said.
The incident Saturday occurred at about 8 a.m. on Fish Lake, a backwater of the Mississippi River near New Albin. An ATV pulling a trailer operated by Jeffry J. Kedrowski of Janesville, WI went through the ice along with two other adults and a juvenile. All four were able to escape the water and get to a nearby island where they started a fire to keep warm. New Albin Rescue was able to get to the island to provide assistance. All four were transported back to shore by airboats. No one required hospitalization.
Agencies assisting the DNR at the scene were the New Albin Rescue, New Albin Police Department, Allamakee County Sheriff's Office and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Collins said an ATV and truck also went through the ice in the same area earlier this winter.
"I think we have been lucky no one has been seriously hurt in any of these incidents," said Collins.