Hole in ice leads to river search in La Crosse; rescue crews determine two people made it out safely

Ice rescue

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT)- A hole in the ice in Lauderdale Bay on the north side of La Crosse led to a search of the water Thursday afternoon.

A neighbor in that area noticed the hole with fishing equipment and footprints nearby and called authorities just after 5:00 p.m.

A fresh bucket of minnows was also found on the ice near the hole.

That prompted a search of the water by the La Crosse Fire Department’s Dive Unit.

Crews started searching with cameras and reach poles.

Divers then entered the water, but did not find anything.

In the meantime, police talked to another neighbor who lives on a different part of Lauderdale Bay who reported seeing two people in the area earlier.

According to La Crosse Fire Department Battalion Chief Bee Xiong, that neighbor told police the two fell through the ice, but were able to get out of the water by themselves and then left the area.

Rescue crews were then met by the two people who had fallen through the ice and they confirmed what happened.

“This time of year the ice can look good. It gives you no indication that the ice is not good, but it’s rotten. When the temperatures get so high so quickly the ice rots, It can be four, five, six inches thick, but it’s still rotten,” said Lt. Adam Foley of the La Crosse Fire Department.

Xiong said both people are OK.


Rescue crews were called to the area of Lauderdale Ct. on the north side of La Crosse Thursday afternoon.

Someone who lives in the area noticed a hole with broken ice and footprints nearby.

Crews are searching the water and trying to determine if someone fell through.

Stay with News 8 Now for continuing coverage of this breaking news.