Fort Wayne – Ice enthusiasts are asked to proceed with caution while enjoying winter sports such as skating or fishing as thin ice can mean danger, area officials warn.
City skating ponds at Lakeside, Swinney East, Franke and Reservoir parks will be closed this weekend because of thin ice, according to the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department.
The parks department will have red lights and flags at the park ponds to indicate that it is unsafe to skate. For additional information, call the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department at 427-6000 or go to www.fortwayneparks.org.
Local ice fishermen are also asked to use extreme caution when heading out onto frozen lakes or ponds to fish, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Indiana conservation officers encourage ice fishermen to carry a life jacket or other flotation device, to check ice regularly, and to avoid going out on the ice alone.
At least one ice-related fall has been reported, local conservation officers said, and one death has been reported in Indiana.
A Huntington fisherman was rescued Thursday after falling through the ice on a small pond south of Roush Lake in Huntington County.
Shortly after 11 a.m., a conservation officer, the Huntington County Sheriffs Department, Indiana State Police and local fire and rescue departments responded to a call that a man had fallen through the ice near North Warren Road in Huntington.
Michael H. Gosnell, 68, was found in the frigid water, clinging to the ice he had recently fallen through, according to a written statement from conservation officers.
Gosnell was pulled from the water and treated by emergency medical services and then transported to Parkview Huntington Hospital, officials said.
He was being treated for cold-related injuries, bruises and cuts.
Gosnell was not wearing a life jacket at the time, officials said. His fishing companion, James Koon, of Huntington, witnessed the icy plunge and called 911.
In northwest Indiana, authorities say 50-year-old Edward Ihnat of Whiting drowned after he fell through the ice while skating with a friend on a lake.
The Lake County Coroners Office said he died Thursday at a Hammond hospital.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Safety guidelinesWhere to ice skate
For ice skaters who cant wait to get on the ice, skating is available at the outdoor rink at Headwaters Park.
The public skating hours are as follows:
1 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday
Noon to 10 p.m. Fridays
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays
Noon to 8 p.m. Sundays
Source: Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department
Ice fishing safety guidelines
Drill a test hole near shore and make sure it shows at least a 4-inch thickness of clear ice
Wear a life jacket for extra warmth and safety
Be aware that ice can vary in thickness from one area of a pond or lake to another
New ice is usually stronger that old ice
Indiana law limits ice fishing holes to a diameter of 12 inches
Fishing shanties must have reflectors on each side
Ice by the inches
1 inch of ice – Stay off the ice
4 inches of ice – Safe for ice fishing
5 inches of ice – Safe for snowmobiling
8 inches of ice – Safe for driving a car or truck to travel on
10 inches of ice – Safe for driving a medium-weight truck to travel on
Source: Indiana Department of Natural Resources