Authorities: Too early for lake ice to be safe

Reeds Lake, winter
Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids on Dec. 15, 2016.

CANNON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Authorities are urging people to stay off the ice on local lakes, saying it’s not safe.

Cannon Township Fire Department rescue crews had to pull a man from Lake Bella Vista, southeast of Rockford, around 3 p.m. Sunday after he fell through the ice. There’s no indication he was in the water for a long time, Kent County Dispatch said, and he was in good condition.

Authorities say it’s too early to be ice skating or fishing on open water. Even though it has been cold recently, ice isn’t thick enough to be safe.

“Locally within Kent County there are no bodies of water which are safe to walk on,” Lt. Bryan Muir, the commander of the Kent County Sheriff’s Department Dive Team, wrote in an email to 24 Hour News 8 Sunday, “let alone bring any heavy equipment or vehicles onto at this point of the year.”

When it comes to ice, looks can be deceiving. Even though a lake may look frozen over, the ice may not be strong enough to support your weight.

Citing the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ recommendations, Muir said that if you’re thinking about going out on the ice, it should be clear and at least four inches thick.

“Any ice which is cloudy or slushy is unsafe,” he wrote.

It’s also important to remember the ice depth can vary from spot to spot.

“Repeated checks for thickness should be considered if you intend to walk on any body of water,” Muir told 24 Hour News 8.