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Feb 13, 2017 5:39 PM

3 weekend snowmobile deaths prompt warnings from NH officials


LACONIA - Officials are warning anyone who plans to head out onto Lake Winnipesaukee to be cautious of thin, unpredictable ice conditions.

NH Fish & Game and local fire departments responded to multiple calls Saturday and Sunday for snowmobiles that broke through thin ice. Three people died.

"The lake is never safe," said Fish & Game Sgt. Alex Lopashanski. "Ice is always changing and coming and going. There's some places on the lake with two feet of ice and other places that were wide open water."

The recent snowfall made it hard to see which areas were thin, Lopashanski said.

In each of the weekend cases, riders were near larger islands that tend to freeze late and in some cases, are subject to currents which can quickly thin existing ice.

Here are a few tips from officials to stay safe

-Know the area you are crossing, if you're unsure of the thickness, use a drill to check

-Ask people nearby who are ice fishing which areas should be avoided

-Wear ice picks and an inflatable vest

-If you do fall through, don't panic. Swim to the area you fell in and grab the ice, kick your feet to hoist yourself back onto solid ice.

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