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Airboat locates missing man

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A snowmobiler missing on Lake of the Woods early this morning was located by the Lake of the Woods Search and Rescue airboat, Kenora OPP reported.

The incident began when five individuals had left the Keewatin area on snowmachines shortly after 2 a.m. to return to a cabin where they were staying, police said.

Two of the five snowmachines went slightly ahead of the others as they were not completely familiar with where they were going. But as they got up ahead, they realized one of their party had dropped back and the two turned around.

As they did so, they came across thin ice.

The lead snowmachine was able to traverse the thin ice but the second one turned more sharply and did not have enough speed to get across the thin ice, causing it to break through into open water.

A short while later, the other four members of the party realized that one person was missing. They searched for him, then headed for shore and contacted police around 4 a.m.

In the meantime, the snowmachine driver who had broken through the ice, a 45-year-old Manitoba resident, was able to pull himself out of the water and crawl towards nearby Mackie’s Island.

He broke through the ice at least one more time before reaching shore, police said, but was able to pull himself out. Once on shore, the man broke into a cabin to try and keep warm.

Once police were notified of the missing man, the Lake of the Woods Search and Rescue airboat was contacted to assist with the search. The airboat responded, located the man’s tracks on the ice, and was able to locate him on Mackie’s island.

The man was taken to shore, transferred into an ambulance, and taken to Lake of the Woods District Hospital, where he was treated and released.

The prompt response of the airboat ensured a positive outcome to this incident, police said.

The OPP would like to remind everyone that when it comes to travelling on the ice, if you don’t know, don’t go.

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