The Clinton Herald sadly reports that an Illinois man from German Valley died recently after falling though ice at a lake in Sabula, IA. Sabula, located just across the border from Illinois is a popular destination for ice fishing during the winter months. The victim was ice fishing with his son when they both fell through the ice and into the freezing depths below. Someone on the scene saw the two fall and called police. Fire and ambulance departments arrived at the scene and rescued the two men. Sadly, the 65-year old did not survive and his son was in critical condition upon arrival at the hospital. Our wrongful death attorneys understand just how dangerous ice fishing can be and want to remind ice fishermen across Illinois to take precautions and to never rely on others for your personal safety.
This tragic death serves as a reminder of the potential dangers of ice fishing. Every year, we hear of tragic accidents involving ice fishermen who ventured out on ice that was too thin, causing them to fall into the freezing water and drown. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (“IDNR”) has published an Ice Fishing guide that teaches ice fishing safety to residents. The IDNR suggests that ice fisherman always travel with others, and carry a 50 foot rope with a float attached. They also recommend wearing spikes or screwdrivers attached to a cord around your neck to help you break through the ice should you fall through. They also state that is you have any doubts or concerns about the thickness of the ice, you should wear a personal flotation device. A personal floatation device is smart to wear regardless of your worry about ice thickness as it also provides additional warmth. Finally ice fishermen should carry a whistle or horn and should always advise someone of your itinerary.
If a member of your group does fall through the ice and you are able to get them out, hypothermia is the number on concern. Hypothermia is a condition where a person’s body temperature drops below 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and is caused most typically by immersion in cold water. If you see someone fall into the water while ice fishing, the INDR suggests getting the victim to shelter as soon as possible, removing all wet clothes, wrapping the victim in blankets, and placing several sources of heat on the victim’s neck, chest, groin and chest areas. Do not give the victim any alcohol or any other beverages; and do not rub the skin or allow them to walk. Hypothermia is a serious medical condition that can cause death if not treated immediately and properly. Always remain vigilant while out on the ice this winter, and trust you instincts.