Man rescued at Sheridan Lake

Gray Hughes

A man fell through the ice on his all-terrain vehicle (ATV) at Sheridan Lake Jan. 3, officials said.

There were no injuries, reported Christopher Dekker, of South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP).

“A few other anglers on the ice helped to get him out of the water,” Dekker said. “South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, Hill City Ambulance and Pennington County (Sheriff’s Office) deputies responded.”

Deputies arrived first and were able to render first aid to the man by putting him into a patrol truck and warming him up, Dekker said. Hill City Ambulance evaluated the victim, and he was not transported to the hospital.

Individuals who are going out onto the ice for ice fishing or other activities are reminded to keep safety equipment with them, Dekker said. Safety equipment includes ice picks, rope and a flotation device.

Anyone driving on the ice should use caution and should ensure the ice is thick enough to support the weight of a vehicle, Dekker added, and people should check the ice frequently as it may fluctuate throughout the lake.

Anglers are also reminded to be cautious around heaves or ice ridges, Dekker said, as these areas may have less ice than the rest of the lake.

In information provided by Jeff Edwards, conservation officer for GFP in Hill City, people are reminded to:

• Fish with a buddy

• Always tell multiple people where you are going

• Keep ice picks around your neck and make sure they are easily accessible and attached to your jacket

• Keep flotation gear on you person

• Keep a 50-foot length of paracord in your pockets

• Have a fully charged cell phone in either a zip lock bag or waterproof case

• Wait until first light to go out on your first journey to a body of water

A minimum of four inches of ice is needed in order to go out. Five to seven inches is needed for a snowmobile.

“It’s important to remember that not all ice is equal,” the GFP release sent by Edwards said. “Cloudy ice, which is created from temperatures hovering around 32 degrees, is much weaker and you need at least twice as much of that ice to venture out. This is the biggest error is when the internet is buzzing about ice conditions, and it’s where people get into big trouble.”

People should also check ice thickness and conditions regularly when venturing out, the release said.

If one falls through the ice, GFP said to not panic.

People should also:

• Throw your arms sideways to catch the edge of the ice if possible

• Stay calm (you have 10 to 15 minutes before hypothermia sets in)

• Hold on to the edge of the ice and identify where you think safe ice is located. If you walked out, go toward where you walked

• Once calm and holding onto the edge of the ice, start flatting out your body by kicking your feet as if you are swimming

• Once you body is flat, use your ice picks to start pulling yourself out and keep kicking your feet

• Once out, keep crawling away from the open water until you are back on stronger ice

• Get to a warm shelter or start a fire, if possible

• Get out of wet close as soon as possible

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