Dive Team Pulls Snowmobile From Black River

The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team was called out in frigid temperatures to recover a snowmobile that went through the ice on Black River Sunday afternoon.  According to Sheriff Tim Donnellon, the call came in about 4:15 p.m. Sunday that a snowmobile went through the ice near the I-94 overpass.  The owner of the snowmobile was not injured. Members of the Dive Team went to the area, where temperatures were near zero and wind chill was well below zero.  A dive tender was sent out onto the river on an ice sled to examine the hole where the snowmobile broke through.  It was determined at that time that the ice was too thin to safely allow divers and tenders to work.  A decision was made to cut a hole at the edge of the river and send divers out to retrieve the snowmobile, which was in about 14 feet of water, 130 feet from shore.  A diver went out and attached a cable from a tow truck to the snowmobile, which was then pulled out of the water.  This was a dangerous recovery for the Dive Team.  The diver’s regulator started to freeze in the open position and had to have warm water poured over it to get it working again.   Diver’s safety lines were freezing stiff when they exited the water.  Chain saws used to cut the ice were also freezing when the tenders stopped cutting.  The snowmobile was recovered about 2 ½ hours after it broke through. The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone to be practice ice safety this winter.  The general rule for clear ice is at least 4 inches to walk on the ice or to ice fish and 5-6 inches of ice for a snowmobile.