Officials warn people to stay off icy lakes

Icy Muskegon Lake. (March 21, 2015)

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Fire and Coast Guard officials are advising people to stay off the lakes after two people fell through the ice on Muskegon Lake Saturday morning.

There were four people out on the lake ice fishing when two of them fell through the ice and into the water.

“It’s starting to get to that time of year where it is rapidly decaying,” said Petty Officer John Tucker with the Coast Guard.

The two people who fell into the water were able to get themselves out and were only in the water for a short amount of time.

At the same time, the North Muskegon Fire Department was out on a nearby training mission with their hovercraft making for a quick response from the department. Fire officials were able to use the hovercraft to take the two to safety.

The Coast Guard was also called into help. They say the ice was only about 8 inches thick where the people fell through.

Coast Guard and fire officials say it’s dangerous to venture out onto any lake and conditions will only worsen with time and the rising temperatures.

“It’s getting the time of year that hopefully in about two three weeks I’ll have it in the water,” said John Wesslund.

The “it” John Wesslund was talking about is his sailboat. Wesslund said this is about the time of year he starts coming to Muskegon Lake to get his boat water ready, and survey how much ice is left on the lake.

“This lake will change real quick, right now, it will be surprising, you can see ice on it one day and it’s pretty much gone the next. When it does change it changes pretty rapidly,” Wesslund said.

The dangers of the thin ice stretch from Muskegon Lake to the big Lake.

On Saturday, Jon Lund was in the channel connecting the two lakes kite surfing. He too experienced just how unpredictable the ice is.

“I was sitting on a big chunk of ice and it broke away and I was sailing out on a piece of ice instead of my board,” said Lund.

It’s also the time of year when Brian Shipaila and Kelli Quist, who just last week ventured out on the ice on Lake Michigan, start to grab a bite to eat and enjoy the beauty from the safety of their car.

“Thers so much more that has melted and dropped these peaks were so, twice as high last weekend. Just a huge difference in the weather,” said Shipaila.

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