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Climbing on shore ice is risky business, experts say

Published on

Cathy Dobson

The Lake Huron shore is currently lined with inviting mountains of ice and snow, but residents should never attempt to climb on them, warns Sarnia Deputy Fire Chief Ken Dwinnell.

“There’s a lot of hidden danger there. I strongly advise against it.”

Ice shelves formed during this month’s cold snap have changed the lake shoreline from Canatara Park and up Lakeshore Road.

The hills may appear solid but they aren’t.

“They are hollow. There’s a void underneath and that’s the problem,” said Dwinnell.

“It just looks like a massive snow drift but water has rolled underneath and eroded the centre. It’s easy to fall through weakened spots and, if you do, there’s no way out and no one can see you from shore,” the deputy chief said.

Many local residents who don’t understand the risk often climb on ice hills. This year has brought numerous reports from Lake Michigan of people climbing on shelf ice and falling in.

A Chicago man who fell through at Loyala Beach luckily landed in only a few feet of water. He later said he thought he was walking on sand and had no idea what an shelf ice was, according to Michigan meteorologist Christina Anthony.

Sarnia Fire Rescue, the City of Sarnia and Sarnia Police are circulating warnings so local residents know to stay off the ice.

They’re urging nature lovers to enjoy the view of Lake Huron from a distance this winter and ensure they stay safe.


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