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Goodhue and Pierce County authorities are warning travelers to beware Lake Pepin ice. A pressure ridge near the Florence Beach public access is blamed for three ice breakthroughs this season.­ staff photo by Cody Buckalew

Two men, ATV go through ice on Lake Pepin

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Hastings, 55033
Hastings Minnesota 745 Spiral Boulevard 55033

Two men learned Tuesday that even precautionary moves can be risky.

Frontenac, Minn., resident Robert Hoeft and Scott Balster of rural Red Wing, Minn., had begun the process of removing an icehouse from Lake Pepin. But around 4 p.m., the men and Hoeft's all-terrain vehicle broke through the ice near Florence Beach on the Minnesota side.

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A passerby noticed the situation and alerted Goodhue County (Minn.) sheriff's deputies. By the time officers arrived, the men and the ATV were out of the water.

According to initial reports, the men were able to pull themselves out of the water using the ATV, which was floating upside-down.

That stretch of ice on the lake has been the scene of two other ice breakthroughs this season. The most recent incident was Jan. 25, when a Wisconsin man's truck loaded with three passengers crashed through. So far, no one has been injured in any of the breakthroughs.

Officers say the area is especially dangerous due to a pressure ridge created by a sandbar. Signs were placed last month alerting anglers to the dangerous area.

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