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COPS WARN: Stay Off The Ice

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Ice Fishing Shanty

Ice Fishing Shanty (credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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GROVELAND TOWNSHIP (AP/WWJ) – Authorities on Tuesday issued a public warning to remind people that frigid temperatures don’t guarantee that the ice on Michigan lakes is safe.

The warning followed the death of an ice angler in suburban Detroit and three other incidents in southeastern and western Michigan involving men who needed to be rescued after falling through what appeared to be solidly frozen surfaces.

Oakland County sheriff’s department divers found the body Tuesday of a 63-year-old Rose Township man who went fishing Monday on Hartwick Lake in Groveland Township, about 35 miles north-northwest of Detroit.

The body of the man, whose name wasn’t immediately released, was recovered at around 1 p.m. in 12 feet of water, said Undersheriff Michael McCabe.

“The sheriff’s office again wants to remind people that NO ice in Oakland County can be considered safe, especially this early in the winter season,” McCabe said in an email message.

Ice fisherman in Harrison Township said they’re watching their step. The ice is still forming, with a thin coating at best away from the shore. Experts said the big snow stopped the ice from thickening at its normal rate.

“You don’t want to venture out on it if you have to, it’s not safe,” said Ron Farrow of Livonia, who was fishing with his buddies on canals along the lake where the ice was 2 to 3 inches thick.

Despite temperatures that dipped into the teens across the southern half of the state New Year’s Eve and Day, the ice remained too thin to support people, authorities say.

“Survey the ice, keeping in mind that ice conditions change day by day, lake by lake and location by location on the same body of water,” McCabe said.

In nearby Waterford Township, firefighters rescued two men who fell through the ice Tuesday on Scott Lake. One of the men required hospitalization, and a firefighter hurt a hand during the rescue, said Waterford fire Capt. John Lyman.

Two similar incidents happened Tuesday in western Michigan.

In Kent County’s Grattan Township, a man on an ice boat broke through the frozen surface of Big Crooked Lake and spent about 15 minutes in the water before being rescued, Mlive.com and WOOD-TV.

“The ice is way too thin for anybody to be out there,” said township fire Chief Louis Kirkbride. “The water’s very cold.”

The rescued man was hospitalized.

And in Branch County’s Ovid Township, residents used a life preserver and marine rope to rescue a 31-year-old a man who fell through the ice on Rose Lake. He also was hospitalized.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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