Three cars plunged through the ice on Lake Winnipesaukee earlier this month, two of three of which sank more than 30 feet into the depths of the lake.
According to Tim McDonald, whose company Marine Solutions pulled each car from the ice, each of the cars fell en route to the Great Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Tournament, which took place February 12-13.
McDonald said the two fully submerged cars – a Toyota and a Lexus – fell through the ice on February 12 and were recovered on February 17. The third car, a Ford Explorer, sank only partially, its front wheels falling into the lake, and was recovered on February 13, the same day it sank.
Marine Solutions decided to wait for favorable weather conditions to save the Toyota and Lexus because the diving process and equipment use is safer when temperatures are above freezing, McDonald said.
In the meantime, the company carried out an aerial reconnaissance by drone in an attempt to locate the two fully submerged vehicles.
Tiffany Letts, spokeswoman for the tournament, an annual state-sponsored event, said the cars crossed the ice “here and there” on their way.
“Ice thickness varies on any lake – and especially on a lake as large as Winnipesaukee,” she wrote in an email.
McDonald joked that the owner of the Ford Explorer had an “angel watching over him”.
“He dropped two of his front tires in the water, and that was it, he stopped there. complete immersion in the vehicle,” McDonald said in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon.
A total of six people and a dog were in the vehicles when they drove through the ice, but McDonald said none were injured.
“In recovery work, when you have three outings in the same weekend, it’s usually not that favorable, but I’m happy to say that all three people are out,” he said. declared.
Having three cars fall through ice in one weekend is not uncommon, McDonald said.
“It was a bit unusual because they were all cars,” he said. “But we had a weekend before where we did over a dozen snowmobiles, side-by-sides, cars. It’s not uncommon at this time of year simply because our ice conditions tend to change so quickly.
McDonald said the easiest way to prevent similar situations from happening in the future would be to avoid driving on ice altogether. But, he said, it might well be a risk worth taking as it is not uncommon for cars to have no issues.
“The only way to know exactly what you are on is to constantly drill and know the depth of the ice around you. The easiest way to mitigate risk is to not take vehicles onto the ice,” he said. “But I’ll tell you I’m sitting by the lake right now and watching an F-250 rush towards me in the middle of the lake.”
“So it’s not uncommon to see, but it’s just a matter of knowing the ice you’re on,” McDonald said.