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UPDATED: Car Falls Through The Ice At Cedar Lake

Hennepin County Sheriff, Minneapolis Fire and Police Departments responding.

UPDATE 8:42 p.m. 12/13/12: Around 3 p.m., Honda Civic plunged into the icy depths of Cedar Lake in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis firefighters, police officers, and Hennepin County Sheriff's deputies raced to the scene, deploying two airboats in what appeared to be a desperate race to rescue survivors. When Sheriff's Department divers reached the submerged sedan, however, there were no bodies to be found.

It wasn't a sign of The Rapture, but something altogether more suspicious. 

An hour after emergency crews raced to the lake, Sheriff's Department spokesperson Lisa Kiava told Patch in an email that the car was, in fact, stolen. Investigators, Kiava wrote in a press release issued later Thursday night, think the thieves set the car on an unmanned, one-way trip onto the lake in order to dispose of it. 

Their decidedly unorthodox approach to car theft could be judged at least partially successful. With ice on Cedar Lake 3 inches thick at most—ice must be 4 inches thick to support the weight of a human, and even thicker to support a Civic—it was remarkable the car made it any distance from shore. As Kiava noted in her press release, "it is not safe for vehicles to drive on frozen bodies of water" at this time.

Original Story 4:15 p.m. 12/13/12: A little after 3 p.m. Thursday, KARE 11 reports, a car went through the ice at Cedar Lake.

The Hennepin County Sheriff's office, Minneapolis Fire Department, and Minneapolis Police Department have all responded to the incident.

It is not currently clear if the car was occupied, or how far from shore it was. Pictures shot from KARE 11's helicopter show emergency crews in airboats clustered around an area at the edge of the ice, at least 15 feet from shore.

Patch will update this story as more information becomes available.

If you are driving on ice, and your car falls through, the Minnesota DNR recommends that you try to escape while the car is still afloat by smashing through the side windows. Even when the car is still afloat, water pressure is often strong enough to prevent you from opening your doors.

  • If the windows are blocked, try to push the windshield or rear window out with your feet or shoulder.
  • A vehicle with its engine in the front will sink at a steep angle and may land on its roof if the water is 15 feet or deeper. As the car starts its final plunge to the bottom, water rapidly displaces the remaining air. An air bubble can stay in a submerged vehicle, but it is unlikely that it would remain by the time the car hits the bottom.
  • When the car is completely filled, the doors may be a little easier to open unless they are blocked by mud and silt. Remember too, chances are that the car will be upside‑down at this point! Add darkness and near freezing water, and your chances of escape have greatly diminished. This underscores the necessity of getting out of the car before it starts to sink! 

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