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Published December 28, 2011, 06:29 PM

Thin ice creating dangerous conditions for ice fisherman

Detroit Lakes, MN (WDAY TV) - It's become an all too familiar story with our warm winter weather; thin ice creating dangerous conditions for ice fisherman.

It's become an all too familiar story with our warm winter weather; thin ice creating dangerous conditions for ice fisherman. Two men survived a close call Tuesday when their ATV tipped into open water on Dead Lake - the fourth ATV mishap in five days in Otter Tail County.

26 year-old Andrew Swank and 24 year-old Dallas Williamson, both of Austin, were riding across Dead Lake when their ATV tipped into open water. Both men were able to escape and get back to their nearby cabin where they called authorities to report the incident.

To prevent more people from falling through the ice the Becker County Sheriff has issued a formal warning against the use of vehicles including ATV'S on Detroit Lake where some fish houses are partially submerged. It's a warning anglers are either unaware of or choosing to ignore.

We drive our vehicles everywhere, but few of us venture onto ice - unless you’re Nathan Clark.

Nathan Clark – Ice Fisherman: "Yesterday we went, we had the windows down you could hear ice cracking.

Clark went fishing with his brother this morning on Detroit Lake.

Nathan Clark: "We got one nice sized northern and a few sunnies."

Despite several people falling through the ice, Clark still drove out on the lake.

Nathan Clark: "I guess I didn't hear about that, I wasn't the first car out here so I guess I felt alright as far as that goes."

Sheriff Tim Gordon – Becker County: "I don't know if it's macho or just being able to tell their friends they drove out there."

Right here by the shore the ice is 10-12 inches thick, but it gets thinner the further you go out into the lake. There are about five houses partially submerged.

Sheriff Gordon: "We're seeing places where there is 10 inches of ice then we're down to less than an inch."

That's why these fish houses have fallen through.

Sheriff Gordon: "But when you have the sunlight like we are, the warm temperatures, the wind and the lack of subzero night temps ice doesn't develop the way it does in a normal year.

Sheriff Gordon says if you do ice fish, leave the door to house open and right now don't drive out on the ice - not even with an ATV.

Sheriff Gordon says it's been twenty years since he's seen ice conditions like this.

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