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Officials identify woman who drowned on northern Hubbard County lake

Authorities identified the woman who drowned after an ATV she was riding on went through the ice late Friday night.

At 11:54 p.m. Friday, the Hubbard County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call about two people who broke through the ice while operating an ATV on Grace Lake in northeast Hubbard County, according to a release Monday from Scott Parks, chief deputy with the Hubbard County Sheriff's Office.

The two individuals were later identified as Ethan Oftedahl, 27, rural Bemidji, and Lauren Lund, 23, of Bemidji.

After the ATV broke through the ice, officials say Oftedahl was able to get out of the water and call 911 from a nearby residence. Rescue personnel used a hovercraft to find Lund and pull her from the water. She was rushed by ambulance to Sanford Bemidji Medical Center, but live-saving measures were unsuccessful and she was pronounced dead at the hospital. Oftedahl also was taken to Sanford Bemidji, where he was treated for hypothermia.

Grace Lake straddles Beltrami and Hubbard counties and is about 8 miles southeast of Bemidji just off U.S. Highway 2.

In addition to the Hubbard County Sheriff's Office, the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office, Leech Lake Police Department, the Minnesota State Patrol, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Cass Lake Fire Department, Lakeport Fire/First Response, Cass Lake Ambulance and Bemidji Ambulance all responded to the scene.

Hubbard County Sheriff Cory Aukes said another ATV went through the ice on Saturday morning on Island Lake, about 12 miles north of Park Rapids off U.S. Highway 71. That person survived the fall through the ice.

Saturday's death comes six days after a Park Rapids couple was rescued on Little Sand Lake in Hubbard County when their ATV went through the ice. Jason Funk, 46, was airlifted to a Fargo hospital with hypothermia conditions, while his wife, Holly Funk, 41, was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in Park Rapids and later released. Little Sand Lake is about seven miles northeast of Park Rapids.

Dangerous ice

This winter has been a deadly one on the ice on Minnesota lakes.

On Saturday, a Cohasset woman died when the ATV she was riding fell through the ice on a rural Itasca County lake.

The body of Bernice Kane of Cohasset was recovered from the waters of Rice Lake, near Cohasset, on Sunday afternoon. Michael Gibbons of Duluth was able to get out of the water on his own and call for help after the ATV broke through the ice.

The Becker County Sheriff's Office responded to two calls of ATVs going through the ice Saturday afternoon. The first incident happened around 3:45 p.m. on Little Cormorant Lake when a man driving a side-by-side ATV broke through the ice in approximately 4 to 5 feet of water, Sheriff Todd Glander said in a news release. No medical attention was needed and the man made it off the ice safely, Glander said.

Around 5 p.m. on the north end of Big Floyd Lake, also known as Mud Lake, a man was pulling a fish house behind his side-by-side ATV when both the fish house and the ATV broke through the ice. The driver escaped through the passenger side window, Glander said, and he didn't need medical attention. The depth of water was unknown.

The Detroit Lakes Fire Department and St. Mary's EMS assisted at the scene.

On Nov. 27, the bodies of two people — Melissa Seidenstricker, 29, of Princeton, Minn., and Zeth Knyphausen, 28, of Stacy, Minn. — were pulled from Upper Red Lake after it is believed their ATV plunged through the ice.

Inconsistent ice

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, no ice can ever be considered "safe ice," and the agency says the minimum ice thickness guidelines for new, clear ice are as follows:

• 4 inches for ice fishing or other activities on foot.

• 5-7 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle.

• 8-12 inches for a car or small pickup.

• 12-15 inches for a medium truck.

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