Missing person search leads to sad discovery

Published: November 29, 2017


Red Lake OPP is warning residents to be cautious on area waterways after locating a missing ice fisherman on Pakwash Lake last week.

On Nov. 20 64 year old Pat Wagner was reported missing after friends located his snowmachine, helmet and jacket near a hole in the ice. The following day the OPP announced Wagner had been found deceased with the aid of the OPP North West Region Emergency Response Team (ERT), Lake of the Woods Search and Rescue (LOWSAR) and Ministry of Natural Resources Aviation Services.

The OPP would like to remind people of the following:

Ice begins to be “safe” at around 4 – 6 inches thickness. Do not even walk on ice 3” or less in thickness. However, even at a 9″ – 10″ thickness, there may be unforeseen hazards such as a flowing current underneath that are ceaselessly weakening the underside of the ice. In this instance, even the thickness is not a good indicator of safety, as the ice could collapse at any time.

In general, the rules for ice thickness measurements are:

  3″ (7 cm) (new ice) – KEEP OFF

  4″ (10 cm) – suitable for ice fishing, cross-country skiing and walking (approx. 200 pounds)

  5″ (12 cm) – suitable for a single snowmobile or ATV (approx. 800 pounds)

  8″ – 12″ (20 – 30 cm) – suitable for one car, group of people (approx. 1500 – 2000 pounds)

  12″ – 15″ (30 – 38 cm) – suitable for a light pickup truck or a van

People should always remember that these measurements do not indicate ice safety in every instance. It is always important to follow safety practices when traveling on the ice including:

Tell someone your travel plans, route and estimated time of return

Wear proper gear such as a floater coat and carry survival equipment

If you don’t know, DON’T GO!

For these and more ice safety tips go to

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