Brothers’ trucks break through Lake Winnebago ice

A truck submerged in Lake Winnebago near Fond du Lac, Monday, March 31, 2014. (WLUK/Eric Peterson)
A truck submerged in Lake Winnebago near Fond du Lac, Monday, March 31, 2014. (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

FOND DU LAC - It was a hard lesson to learn for two brothers about soft ice conditions on Lake Winnebago. Both of their trucks started to go under Sunday near Fond du Lac.

Brett Lobajeski says he and his brother Robert finished motorcycling on Lake Winnebago near Fond du Lac when the ice started to get soft.

“My brother drove out to get the cones from our racetrack, and he put a tire into the ice a little bit. He called me up, I went to help him out, and I put a tire into the ice,” said Brett Lobajeski of Fond du Lac.

Lobajeski called for help.

As crews were pulling his truck to shore, it broke through the ice and sank in about six feet of water. Dan Emery says ice thickness went from about 32 inches Sunday morning to 24 inches in a matter of hours.

“As soon as you cut into it, it's just crystallizing. So what we got to do, we got to sink the trucks and cut up a channel all the way back, and pull them up on shore,” said Dan Emery, who works for Sunk? Dive and Ice Service.

Conditions are crumbling across Lake Winnebago. Area fishing clubs have been pulling their ice bridges. The latest went off this weekend.

“If you still got bridges out, some people might think the ice conditions are still good, and say let's chance it, let's go for it. So without any hassle, we just pulled the bridges, and hopefully everyone stays safe,” said Emery.

Just up the road near Quinney, waters from Johnson Creek are flowing quickly. Christmas trees signal the possible end to the ice.

“Stay off the ice. Walking conditions it's fine. Four wheelers, we're having problems with ours, I wouldn't take any four wheelers out. Definitely, be careful,” said Emery.

No one was hurt in the incident. Lobajeski says he's not angry. All he could do is watch and wait.

“The blue truck is $3,500 to pull it out and the yellow truck is going to be $5,000. But we got free hats,” said Lobajeski.