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July 2014

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Two snowmobile crashes on Okauchee Lake

Emergency responders aren't certain what happened before finding the two snowmobilers who crashed on the ice, but it isn't hard to guess.

The Stone Bank Fire Department responded with the state Department of Natural Resources to two separate crashes, right around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. Two people were treated and taken to the hospital, one to Froedtert Hospital by Flight for Life and another to Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital by ambulance.

The accidents are being viewed as two separate crashes but Stone Bank Assistant Fire Chief Tony Agnello said they are assuming both riders came up on ice heaves and were thrown from their sleds.

Ice heaves form when two ice plates are pushed together, either while they're forming or shifting. The pressure causes one slab will slide over the other. This can cause overhanging shelves, angled pieces of ice and ice fractures.

"We're talking two, sometimes three feet high there," Agnello said.

Snow, Agnello warns, hides the ice heaves, and snowmobilers should be especially careful. While there are cones blocking an ice heave near Party Island, Agnello cautions riders on the ice.

"That specific ice heave was coned off, but are there others out there? Yes. Do we know where they will be? No... Ice is not static, it's dynamic. Just because you were on the ice yesterday, and everything was OK doesn't mean it will be the same today," Agnello said.

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