Three drown while ice fishing in west Sweden

In two separate incidents, two women between 60 and 70 years old and a man in his sixties fell through the ice and died while fishing on the Swedish west coast on Saturday.

Three drown while ice fishing in west Sweden

The two women had gone fishing on lake Bergsjön near the town Lane-Ryr in the Uddevalla municipality.

A rescue party arrived at the scene after fishing equipment was spotted near a hole in the ice.

The rescue personnel managed to pull out the women’s bodies and the divers who had been called to the scene did not have to enter the icy water.

“We tried to resuscitate them by the bank of the lake but it was not possible,” Hans-Erik Oskarsson of the Uddevalla rescue services told news agency TT.

He added that the ice was very weak and that it broke when men from the rescue party went out onto it, too.

Oskarsson also estimated that the women were between 60 and 70 years old and said that the last time their families heard from them was around 1pm on Saturday.

Also, late Saturday night a man in his sixties was found drowned in lake Mjörn near Alingsås on the west coast of Sweden.

His family had reported him missing on Saturday night after he failed to return from an ice-fishing trip.

The man’s body was found at 12.30am on Sunday, assistant duty officer Ingemar Johansson told TT.

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Be wary of perilous Easter ice, Sweden warned

The beginning of spring means an increased risk of falling through surface ice on lakes and watercourses that are thawing.

Be wary of perilous Easter ice, Sweden warned
File photo: Tobias Röstlund / TT

With April a particularly dangerous month, Easter holidaymakers have been advised to take extra care.

“There are a lot of snowmobiles out there during Easter. It is the time of year when snowmobiles are used the most, especially in the mountains. Easter falls very late this year and that means the ice is much weaker,” said Per-Olov Wikberg, coordinator with Nationella snöskoterrådet (National Snowmobile Council).

According to Wikberg, the majority of snowmobile accidents happen around Easter. Of 70 deaths due to accidents involving the vehicle type in the last ten years, almost half were the result of drowning. Several other serious ice-related accidents have also occurred.

“The thing that is special about snowmobiles is that they are heavy and can travel very fast. You can quickly find yourself on bad ice without hearing or seeing the warning signs,” he said.

A survey carried out by the snowmobile council found that three out of ten people had experienced an accident caused by ice breaking or nearly breaking.

Only four out of ten said they had consulted somebody with local knowledge before heading out onto the ice.

Authorities therefore advise the public to always prioritise safety when deciding whether to go out on the vehicles or on the ice in general, particularly in unfamiliar areas.

“This year it’s nasty. The ice can crack very fast and this does not depend so much on the temperature, but on the fact the sun is high in the sky. That warms the inside of the ice,” said project manager Jan Insulander of ice safety advisory board Issäkerhetsrådet.

“Keep in mind that ice that was hard and cold in the morning can become slush that you can fall through later in the day,” he added.

The National Snowmobile Council believes that the public needs better – potentially life-saving – knowledge about ice and lakes.

“Everyone should have respect for the ice, because the ice can quickly become bad in the spring because of heat and sunshine,” Wikberg said.

READ ALSO: Five top tips for staying safe on the ice in Sweden