A 59-year-old man from McGregor, Minn., died Friday night from injuries suffered in an ATV crash near Big Sandy Lake, where the vehicle crashed through thin ice.
The driver, Kevin Lee Futhey, was airlifted to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale on Friday afternoon after authorities found him submerged in about 8 feet of water. He died shortly thereafter, authorities said.
Officers arrived at the scene around 12:15 p.m. on a report from an area resident that someone had broken through the ice on Sandy River Flowage leading to Big Sandy Lake, police said.
Authorities found ATV tracks leading to a hole in the ice, where they discovered a 2015 Polaris Ranger with Futhey in the cab.
At the time of the crash, ice on the lake varied from 3 inches to a half-inch thick — far too thin to drive on. The state Department of Natural Resources recommends that ice be at least 4 inches thick to walk on and 5 to 7 inches thick to support an ATV or snowmobile. Cars or small pickups should venture onto ice only if it is close to a foot thick, the DNR says.
An unusually warm winter has led to several freezes and thaws, producing weak ice across the state.
A spate of metro-area lakes, including Harriet, Calhoun and Nokomis, set record-breaking early ice-out dates — prompting officials to remind residents that trekking onto the ice may be dangerous.
To check ice-out dates for other lakes in Minnesota, go to dnr.state.mn.us/ice_out.