Coast Guard issues warning about unsafe ice - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Coast Guard issues warning about unsafe ice

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BAY CITY (WJRT) -

(03/14/14) - With Friday's beautiful weather comes a warning from the U.S. Coast Guard - the ice on Saginaw Bay and inland waterways is becoming unsafe for ice fishing.

"Right now, it can be very dangerous," said 2nd Class Petty Officer Andy Burns, U.S. Coast Guard.

That's for any ice in Mid-Michigan on any body of water, and Burns says the areas known as the hot ponds around the Consumers Energy Plant near the coast guard station in Essexville are especially hazardous.

"The ice in that area is really, really dangerous," he said. "In the last two weeks, we've had five people go through."

All were rescued, but two had minor injuries.

On the Saginaw River where the U.S.S. Edson sits, plenty of ice fisherman are still out on the ice, and still getting some pretty good catches.

"It's starting to honeycomb and it won't be long until it breaks up," said Emerson Kimbrue.

Kimbrue sells fishing lures and doesn't like to venture out on the ice, but he's seen his share of people doing it, and not just walking.

"I was out in Linwood the other day, and there was a motor home out there, he was nuts," he said.

Burns says mid-March ice is a lot different than January ice.

"It melts quickly, and as the ice gets older, it gets less strong, so even though you may have 12-13 inches of ice, it's not as strong," Burns said.

Burns advises people going out on the ice to check weather forecasts, dress properly and carry a cell phone in case you run into trouble.

"You got to watch the water, if it starts flowing, you have to watch if the current is picking up, but there is plenty of ice still out there," said Mike Hopson, ice fisherman.

Hopson loves ice fishing, but he knows when to call it a season.

"This will be my last time at the river today," he said.

Another tip from Burns - never venture out on the ice alone.

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