Ontario Provincial Police are reminding snowmobilers who are anxious to get on the trails that recent weather has made trail conditions unstable. They are asking riders to exercise caution when heading out on the water. The reminder comes in the wake of a snowmobile incident on Six Mile Lake over the weekend that left a 59-year-old man from Scarborough, Ont. dead and another injured after their snowmobiles went through the ice on Six Mile Lake in the Township of Georgian Bay.
“Right now, we’ve not had a deep freeze, like some very cold nights, that gets you that ice thickness. So, although it appears that there’s ice in most places, it’s been unpredictable, and it makes the conditions very poor,” said Const. Aaron Coulter with the OPP.
A mild winter has caused snowmobile trails to remain closed. As an alternative, Coulter says some snowmobilers are driving on waterways. “It’s just not safe,” he says. “Our message is always going to be to stay off the ice unless you’re very confident that there’s the thickness there. But no ice is safe ice.”
A 58-year-old from Toronto was also involved in the accident on Six Mile Lake, near O’Leary’s Island on Sunday morning, however, he survived. A cottager spotted the two men struggling in the water and called emergency services.
Members of the Southern Georgian Bay Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) detachment, OPP Aviation Services, Georgian Bay Fire Department, and Simcoe County and Muskoka Region Paramedics arrived on the scene, taking over for residents who were attempting to rescue the snowmobilers.
Emergency services managed to remove the 58-year-old Toronto man from the water and transport him to a local hospital to be treated for his injuries. The 59-year-old, however, had gone under the water and wasn’t found.
The OPP brought in their Underwater Search and Recovery Unit to look for the man. Members of the recovery unit found the man’s body at 2:35 p.m. on Monday afternoon.
If you witness someone fall through the ice, Coulter says it’s useful to have supplies, such as a rope and floatation device, on hand. But walking out onto the ice could put you in danger. The first step should always be to call emergency services. They have the equipment and training to rescue someone who’s fallen through the ice.