Upper Red Lake, Beltrami County, MN – A Cessna 172 Sky Hawk landed on Upper Red Lake and broke through the ice. All occupants were able to self-evacuate from the airplane and were assisted by other anglers on the ice. At approximately 9:20AM on December 19, 2023 the Beltrami County Emergency Communications Center received the report and a Beltrami County Boat and Water Deputy was near the scene. The deputy was able to use binoculars from shore to confirm the two occupants had made it out of the plane and were being assisted to shore.
The plane had departed from Grand Rapids, MN with a destination of Upper Red Lake for a day of ice fishing. After conducting a flyover, the pilot identified what was believed to be a safe landing area. Upon landing, the absence of snow resulted in the plane having difficulty slowing down. Eventually the plane slide into an area of thin ice and the nose of the plane broke through into open water. This resulted in both occupants becoming wet from the waist down. They were brought to an area resort and were provided dry clothing.
Only one to two inches of ice was reported where the plane went through approximately one half of a mile out from Pioneer Rd on the southeastern shore of Upper Red Lake. The pilot had already made contact with a recovery operation and made arrangements to extricate the plane. The deputy informed the pilot of the requirements regarding removal of the aircraft and must contact the deputy when complete. The Beltrami County Sheriff's Office was assisted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers.
Arrangements have been made to remove the airplane. No additional information or press releases will be made on this incident.
-Sheriff Jason Riggs