Empty, stolen car falls through ice on Cedar Lake in Minneapolis - KMSP-TV

Empty, stolen car falls through ice on Cedar Lake in Minneapolis

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A car has fallen through the ice on Cedar Lake in Minneapolis. The incident happened near a curve in the road on the west side of the lake.

Police noticed tracks in the snow leading up to the open water, but after rushing to the scene, crews quickly learned there was no rescue to be made.

At this time, police do not believe anyone was inside the black, 1995 Honda Civic that plunged into the icy water.

Crews spent the better part of two hours trying to figure out if there was a driver inside the vehicle, which traveled across the ice for dozens of yards before plunging into 15 feet of water.

Investigators say they believe a thief stole the car but got out and let it simply roll into the lake at about 3 p.m. No arrests have yet been made.

Minneapolis police, firefighters and Hennepin County sheriff's department officials were all involved in the search, using boats and tools to break up sheets of ice and search the perimeter.

Eight divers put their lives on the line in frigid temperatures to brave a possible rescue -- and some of them don't even get paid. In fact, four who responded at Cedar Lake were civilian volunteers.

The divers took turns going in, but no one was found inside the stolen car; however, the risks they take while searching for possible victims are enormous.

"Our divers are able to stay underneath the water for, usually, about an hour, an hour 45 minutes," explained Sgt. Clayton Sedesky, with Hennepin County Water Patrol.

The car will not be removed from the lake until Friday, and investigators say they are not optimistic about gathering evidence from it.

What if your car breaks through the ice?

If your car plunges through the ice, the best time to escape is before it sinks, not after. A vehicle will stay afloat a few seconds to several minutes after hitting the water, depending on the airtightness.

While the car is still afloat, the best escape hatches are the side windows since the doors may be held shut by the water pressure. 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.


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