Police urge caution around thin ice after teen makes dangerous 6-mile crossing over Utah Lake

Posted at 7:39 PM, Dec 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-29 21:57:11-05

UTAH LAKE — Police are warning Utahns to be cautious when it comes to thin ice after a teen made a perilous crossing over Utah Lake Friday.

Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said a 13-year-old boy walked about six miles across Utah Lake from Saratoga Springs Marina to Lindon Marina, and fortunately he didn’t break through the ice until he was just a few feet from shore.

Cannon said the teen went for a walk after getting into a heated argument with his parents around 4:20 p.m. By the time the teen’s parents were in contact with police, he was already about halfway across the lake.

A teen crosses Utah Lake despite thin ice on December 29, 2017. Image courtesy Alyse Neibaur.

Deputies reached the boy by phone and arranged to meet him at Lindon Marina. Cannon said officers could hear the ice crunching under the teen’s feet once he was about 20 yards from the shore.

The teen fell through the ice when he was about a foot from shore, where the water was only about 6 inches deep. The teen was off the lake by about 5:30 p.m. and was not injured.

Cannon said the teen got a stern lecture about the dangers of crossing a frozen lake. Cannon said parts of Utah Lake are not completely frozen over and Friday’s incident could have been much more serious if the ice had broken earlier.

This is one of several recent incidents in Utah involving thin ice.

In South Jordan, neighbors rescued a man who fell into a pond while ice fishing Friday. 

On Christmas Day a police officer punched a pathway through a frozen pond to rescue a child who fell through the ice in southern Utah while chasing a dog.

Firefighters say recent warm temperatures make it dangerous to be out on frozen bodies of water and that there should be at least 4 inches of frozen ice before you consider stepping onto it.

The Red Cross states clear blue ice is generally the strongest while gray ice usually indicates the presence of water and is not safe. The Red Cross offers these tips for reacting to a fall through thin ice:

  • Call for help.
  • Resist the immediate urge to climb back out where you fell in. The ice is weak in this area.
  • Use the air trapped in your clothing to get into a floating position on your stomach.
  • Reach forward onto the broken ice without pushing down. Kick your legs to push your torso on the ice. When you are back on the ice, crawl on your stomach or roll away from the open area with your arms and legs spread out as far as possible to evenly distribute your body weight. Do not stand up! Look for shore and make sure you are going in the right direction.