Snowmobile falls through ice into canal

HANCOCK – A snowmobile that partially fell through the ice of the Portage Lake Shipping Canal of the winter Friday morning was pulled out around 3:30 p.m. Friday afternoon.

About 10 a.m., a snowmobile ridden by a middle-aged Wisconsin man fell partway through the ice. The incident occurred about 50 to 60 yards from shore near the Canal Crossings condominiums in Hancock. The rider, who was traveling toward the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, walked to shore and refused medical treatment, said Hancock Police Chief Wayne Butler.

Several organizations worked to pull the sled out of the canal starting Friday morning. One person went through the ice minimally in the process of trying to hook the snowmobile to a cable, but was not submerged, Butler said.

The snowmobile was the first to go through the ice in the canal this year, Butler said. He told snowmobilers to be mindful of the conditions.

“With the temperatures we’ve had and the currents under the ice, it’s probably not the best idea to be snowmobiling on the ice,” he said.

Responders included the Hancock police and fire departments, Houghton police and fire departments, the Houghton Fire Ice Rescue Team, two wrecker services, the Department of Natural Resources and diver Lundy Castro, Butler said.

The driver will be billed for wrecker and diver fees, but will not be fined by the department, Butler said. Because the snowmobile was retrieved within three days, there will be no DNR sanctions, Butler said.