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WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 13, 2012, 02:12 PM

Winter vehicle sinks in Pipestem Lake

An attempted fishing trip went awry Monday when a man’s winter recreational vehicle fell through the ice at a Jamestown lake. Charles Haus of Hankinson, N.D., and his daughter, Christine Haus, ventured out from the east side of Pipestem Lake at approximately 2 p.m.

By: Brian Willhide, Jamestown Sun

An attempted fishing trip went awry Monday when a man’s winter recreational vehicle fell through the ice at a Jamestown lake.

Charles Haus of Hankinson, N.D., and his daughter, Christine Haus, ventured out from the east side of Pipestem Lake at approximately 2 p.m.

Charles Haus said they were headed to the west side of the lake to go fishing when his SnoBear vehicle broke through the ice and became partially submerged.

“Not too long after we were going out there I realized we had gone a bit too far,” Charles Haus said.

Pipestem Dam and Lake Manager Bob Martin responded to the scene just after 2 p.m.

“It’s a lesson that you’ve really got to be careful out there,” he said.

Martin said the area where the vehicle fell through is unsafe even during the coldest part of winter.

“That particular spot around the islands of the lake is especially unsafe because of the springs located there,” he said.

According to Martin, parts of the lake and some surrounding lakes had 18 to 20 inches of ice as of last week. However, he said the warm weather of the past few days would have reduced its thickness.

Saturday and Sunday saw record high temperatures of 65 and 63 degrees, respectively.

Monday’s recorded high was 57 degrees, according to AccuWeather.com.

“The gray, cloudy ice where the vehicle fell through is an indicator that it’s not very thick and really starting to melt pretty good there,” he said.

Haus said he bought the vehicle last year, but had not purchased insurance on it.

“(I) hadn’t even put 100 hours on it,” he said.

Charles and Christine said they called the American Automobile Association upon walking back from the lake to their truck.

A tow truck arrived at about 3 p.m.

Martin said this kind of incident is not unprecedented, but he does not see it very often.

“We’ve had vehicles and fish houses go through the ice before, but not in a while,” he said.

Christine Haus kept light of the situation, however, telling Martin and a couple of bystanders, “Well we wanted to do some fishing today — doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, though.”

Sun reporter Brian Willhide can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at bwillhide@jamestownsun.com

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