Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)


Waskish Township, Beltrami County, Minnesota – At 4:47PM on Sunday, December 17, 2023 the Beltrami County Emergency Communications Center received a report that numerous people had become stranded on an ice chunk that detached from shore on Upper Red Lake. Initial reports indicated an estimated 40-50 people were stranded and the ice had approximately 40-50 feet of open water separating it from the main ice connected to shore.

Beltrami County Deputies and several other emergency responders arrived on scene and determined that due to the size of the separation an airboat would be needed to evacuate people from the ice. Shortly after 8:00PM all 35 persons needing to be evacuated from the ice were on shore. During the rescue, strong winds further blew the ice chunk and the separation grew to a couple hundred feet.

There were no injuries reported and no one had fallen into the water. The Beltrami County Sheriff's Office was assisted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers, Kelliher Fire Department, Kelliher First Responders, Blackduck Ambulance, Bemidji Ambulance, Bemidji Fire Department, the Minnesota State Patrol and area resorts.

The Beltrami County Sheriff's Office reminds those who venture on the ice that the unseasonably warm weather combined with recent rain have resulted in inconsistent ice conditions. At least four inches of clear new ice is recommended for walking. Ice can never be considered 100% safe. If you become stranded on the ice, call for help. We would rather have trained responders assist than someone falling in the water.

-Chief Deputy Jarrett Walton


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