By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Two side-by-side recreational vehicles crashed through the ice on the Buffalo Bill Reservoir this weekend, prompting the Park County Sheriff’s Office to remind everyone about proper ice recreation safety.
On Sunday, the two vehicles broke through the ice on the North Fork side of the reservoir near Cedar Mountain Point. No one was hurt in the incident and the owners of the vehicles were able to retrieve them without assistance.
However, the Park County Sheriff’s Office used the incident as an educational moment to remind everyone that proper ice recreation safety can mean the difference between life and death.
The thickness of the ice on various bodies of water is very inconsistent this time of year. As the weather continues to warm up, the ice will become more dangerous, the office said.
Certain areas may seem safe but may be very close to areas that are less stable. Anyone who decides to go out on to the ice should always wear a personal floatation device.
Any number of conditions, including stress fractures, air pockets, or overly fatigued ice can cause otherwise strong ice to give way. Without a personal floatation device, a victim can drown within 2 to 15 minutes, depending on the water temperature, due to loss of voluntary muscle control.
Sheriff Scott Steward recommended people not travel onto the ice at this time due to the warm weather and rapidly deteriorating conditions. For those that do venture out on open ice, carry a pair of “ice awls” or “ice picks” with them, preferably on a loop hung around their necks.
“These devices held in each hand will enable the victim to self-rescue by gripping the ice, allowing the victim to pull themselves up and out of the water,” Steward said.