LAKE?MILLS — Two men were rescued Tuesday afternoon after their pick-up truck broke through the ice on Rock Lake.
The Lake Mills Fire Department was dispatched to Bartel’s Beach at 3:37 p.m. by a passerby who pulled into the parking lot and observed the pair — identified as John and Douglas Green, reportedly of Jefferson — having some problems in reaching shore in a 2005 Dodge pick-up truck.
“They were out fishing from a little before noon and they were heading back to shore to leave and the ice conditions changed on them, quite drastically,” Lake Mills Fire Department Assistant Chief Mark Yandre said.
He said the Lake Mills Fire Department has an airboat for the such scenarios. The flat-bottom boat is capable of traveling over the ice in limited capacity while also being able to traverse the waterways.
In this instance, Yandre said, there was open water from the shore to just past where the truck was located, about 50 to 100 yards out from shore.
Yandre said neither man was in the water when firefighters arrived on the scene. Both were sitting on the door of the truck through the window of the vehicle, one on the passenger side and one on the driver’s side.
He estimated the water depth was just below the opening of the window.
Both men were treated at the scene by Lake Mills EMS and released.
Yandre said a MABAS card was requested, which is generally standard protocol for a water rescue.
MABAS is a preplanned method of mutual aid requests utilized by emergency medical personnel in Wisconsin and other states. Under a MABAS box alarm, a predescribed amount of equipment from within a department’s geographic area is sent for mutual aid.
For a water rescue, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office dive team and Rock County Sheriff’s Office dive teams are dispatched. In addition, a unit from the Fort Atkinson Fire Department that also has water rescue training, also is paged to respond.
He said the purpose of the mutual aid is to ensure there are enough resources to give both counties time to get their teams together.
Meanwhile, as to the truck, a towing company was expected to be on the scene today to attempt to extract the vehicle from the lake.
Yandre said that as of this morning, the truck was still visible from shore.
In Wisconsin, owners have 30 days to remove their vehicles from the water.
Already today, Yandre said, he has seen an all-terrain vehicle drive across the general area where the truck went in and there are multiple ice shanties on the lake.
Yandre declined to offer any suggestion as to whether he believed the ice was “safe.”
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website, recommendations regarding ice safety note that there is no such thing as 100-percent safe ice. The DNR site states that strength of ice cannot be judged by appearance, age, thickness, temperature or whether the ice is covered with snow.
The rule of thumb is that at least three inches of ice is needed to support a person, while at least 15 inches is necessary to support a truck.