2 men on ATV fall into West Lake Okoboji, rescued by nearby ice fishermen

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 11:04 AM CST
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SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa (KUOO) - Two men are safe and sound after they fell through a northwest Iowa lake Thursday evening while riding an ATV.

KUOO Radio says multiple first responders were sent to West Lake Okoboji around 5:15 p.m. for reports of two individuals going into the water. When they got to the area of Triboji Beach and Lazy Lagoon they learned that the two men were rescued by local anglers.

“When we arrived both gentlemen had been rescued by other anglers in the area and were transported in by A-T-Vs to the Triboji area and were taken care of by Lakes Regional Healthcare ambulance,” said Chris Yungbluth of Arnolds Park-Okoboji Fire and Rescue.

Yungbluth told KUOO that the men’s conditions weren’t believed to be life-threatening.

“They were of course both very cold from the exposure from the water and the air temperature, but the anglers did a good job of getting them into their shacks to keep them warm until they could be transported into the shoreline,” said Yungbluth.

Yungbluth says the outcome likely would have been much different if it hadn’t been for the action of nearby ice fishermen.

“If they didn’t have people around it definitely could have been a much different outcome and it sounds like the anglers were well prepared. Somebody had a rope and were able to throw it out to one of the gentlemen to rescue him and there was a few that were able to pull the other, the first gentleman out, just were able to pull him off the edge of the ice, and then had to use the rope to rescue the second one,” said Yungbluth

Yungbluth says there are some areas of variable ice thickness and even open water in some places.

“We’ve been hearing about some seams opening up a little bit and some holes that have been kept open by wildlife and different things like that, especially on West Lake. Just variable, real variable ice still on West with those different spots, but not a lot on East or the lower chain as much that we’ve heard about but of course, you always have to be careful when you’re going out onto the ice,” said Yungbluth.

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