Just days after Clear Lake had been declared “iced-in” and the usual safety reminders about the lake’s aeration system has been issued, a man aboard an ice boat fell into open water.
James Anastasi, 61, was driving an ice boat when he hit a patch of open water near the lake’s east aerator in the vicinity of the downtown Sea Wall. According to a report issued by the Sheriff’s Department, the boat capsized and Anatasi went underwater.
The incident was reported at 11:51 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 11. Charles Crane witnessed the accident and alerted emergency officials. The Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Office, Clear Lake Fire and Rescue, police and officers from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources responded to the call.
Anastasi managed to pull himself onto an ice shelf and was assisted by paramedics from the fire and ambulance crews. He did not require additional medical attention.
Although it had issued a public notice about the aeration system being put in use when the lake froze over Wednesday, the DNR had not yet placed warning signs on the ice around the open water area, said Kathy Atkinson, of the Clear Lake DNR office. The signs will be put out when the ice is deemed safe enough for officers to travel onto the lake to post them. Rain in the forecast this week and the unseasonably warm temperatures will only worsen the ice conditions.