Firefighters Dove In The Icy Water to Reach Infant Trapped in Vehicle: Sheriff's Update

The mother of the baby in critical condition works for Richfield Public Schools.

Editor's Note: The following update was released at 4:20 p.m. by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.

On January 18 at 5:08 p.m., the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a vehicle breaking through the ice on Lake Minnetonka.

A family from Minnetrista had been traveling in a small SUV when it broke through thin ice and into the water under the Halstead Bay Bridge. A husband, wife, and their young daughters – a two-year-old and a nine-month-old – were in the vehicle at the time.

Read Patch's coverage of the sheriff's press conference Saturday morning.

A homeowner who lives next to the bridge is a volunteer firefighter for Mound Fire Department. He heard cries for help and he and a friend pulled the mother and two-year-old girl from the water. The homeowner then stretched a ladder across the ice to reach the top of the SUV.

Four other Mound firefighters arrived and the father was rescued from the water. Two of the responding firefighters dove into the icy water to reach the infant underwater. They had to cut the straps of the car seat in order to rescue the infant.

The family was transported to Ridgeview Medical Center, Waconia. Three family members were treated for hypothermia and are expected to recover fully. The infant was transported by air ambulance to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis.  She is in critical condition.

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.

On the same night as this incident, there were two other vehicles with multiple occupants that broke through thin ice on Lake Minnetonka. These were separate incidents on Echo Bay and Excelsior Bay. 

The Sheriff’s Office reminds residents that a Thin Ice Advisory is in place for all bodies of water in the county. Freezing and thawing have created variable ice conditions and caution is recommended. Vehicle travel on all channels on Lake Minnetonka is dangerous and not recommended. Anyone using the ice –including people on snowmobiles and ATVs - should use safety precautions such as wearing life jackets. Deputies wear life jackets when they are on the ice.

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