Weather is getting warmer, which means ice is getting thinner and could be dangerous for those stepping out onto it. Tuesday evening around 6:30, emergency personnel in Austin were called out to Mill Pond to rescue a six-year-old girl who had fallen through the ice under a bridge. The little girl was taken to the Mayo Clinic Austin for treatment of hypothermia before being released.
While she is safe, authorities say people out on ice need to be extra precautious as temperatures get warmer.
"It's never safe," says Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger, "And in this particular case, she was walking very close to the center concrete pillar of this bridge which I'm sure gathered some heat from the sun shining on it the last couple of days."
Austin Fire was among the emergency personnel that participated in Tuesday night's rescue. Fire officials echo the police chief's sentiment on outdoor safety.
"Any warm weather we have now, the rain will quickly degrade the ice," says Austin Firefighter Timothy Olson, "One day it may seem like it's thick enough for people to be out there, the next day it may not. I would recommend people just stay off the ice this time of year. It's very unpredictable. The time of the year when it's the safest is when we're in the dead of winter, and we're leaving that time of the year."
More information about ice safety can be found on the Minnesota DNR's website. They say ice is never 100% safe and if it's less than four inches thick, you should keep off of it entirely. People are also encouraged to get information from a local bait shop or lakeside resort about how safe the ice is before getting out on a lake or river.