The dangers of fishing, driving on thin ice
Rob Koebel reportsPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
PEWAUKEE- Fishing and driving on thin ice -- it's dangerous and could be deadly. While those who choose to do it could face major fines -- could they also face criminal charges?
Larry Kossow has been ice fishing for more than 15 years on Pewaukee Lake. But this winter's mild temperatures have made it tricky and sometimes dangerous.
Larry Kossow: "I took about 10 steps out onto the ice and I broke through."
Rob Koebel: "Scary?"
Larry Kossow: "A little bit, I couldn't touch bottom."
Just last weekend, a scary sight out on Lake Winnebago during a fishing tournament. One by one almost 30 cars fall through the ice.
"All it takes is a little bit of a hole or a crack and you see what happened everybody went in," said driver Don Herman.
No one was hurt -- but it will cost between $500 to $2,000 to have these cars pulled out.
But still people just don't get it. The I-Team found ice fisherman still out on the lake with thin ice with temperatures in the 40's and 50's; fishing, despite multiple ice rescues.
Lt. Brian Dykens with the US Coast Guard in Milwaukee says many fishermen simply refuse to get off the ice, ignoring the dangers. Going out on the ice puts rescue teams lives at risk too.
"We try to tell them what could happen if you stay out here, we try to encourage them to get off the ice," said Lt. Dykens. "You can go into hypothermia state within minutes of going into the water."
The I-Team's Rob Koebel asked attorney Chris Strohbehn if someone should ever be held criminal liable for putting a rescuer's life at risk
Strohbehn said that would be hard to do, but he brings up another serious concern.
When thin ice gives way: cars, ATV's, snowmobiles are all lost to the lake, where, sometimes, they stay.
"Not getting it out endangers other people if their boat ran into it, the boat sank. There could be criminal culpability based on that," said attorney Chris Strohbehn.
Strohbehn adds should someone be seriously injured or even killed he feels a district attorney would look very closely at filing criminal charges. "You are leaving the car or truck in the lake you are putting other people at risk," said Strohbehn.