East Bethel men fall through the ice

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Staff Writer
Since 2013, I have primarily covered the Anoka-Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school districts as well as the city of Spring Lake Park for ABC Newspapers.

Two East Bethel men were hospitalized after falling through the ice on Coon Lake March 5.

A 31-year-old was “skipping” on his snowmobile, a maneuver that allows snowmobilers to skim on water or thin ice for short spurts, when he fell into the lake, according to Anoka County Sheriff’s Office Cmdr. Paul Sommer.

“He was able to free himself,” Sommer said, but he and a 27-year-old friend returned in a boat for the snowmobile, and the boat capsized around 4:45 p.m.

Emergency responders from the Sheriff’s Office and East Bethel Fire Department arrived on scene before 5 p.m. and donned wetsuits to rescue the men, who were between 100 and 150 yards from shore, according to Sommer.

The younger man made it partially to shore and was transported to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids. He has since been released, Sommer said.

The snowmobile’s owner was submerged for more than 10 minutes, and “lifesaving efforts started right then and there,” according to Sommer. The man had to be airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center where he remained on life support as of Friday, March 10, according to Sommer.

“This ice is extremely unpredictable at this point,” Sommer cautioned. “Best practice is just to stay off.”

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