Snowmobiler OK after falling through ice at Payson Lakes

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 19 2012 7:32 p.m. MST

A section of ice where a snowmobiler broke through at Payson Lakes on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012.

Ben Brewer, Deseret News

PAYSON — A 75-year-old man was rescued Wednesday from Payson Lakes after the snowmobile he was driving broke through the frozen surface, leaving him standing on top of the submerged machine in the icy water.

Utah County Sheriff's Lt. Tom Hodgson said the call about the accident came in from the group of four snowmobilers just before 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

One of the man's companions left the group immediately in order to travel out of the canyon and get a cell phone signal to call for help. The two individuals who stayed behind managed to free the man from the ice and built a fire for him just before rescue teams arrived.

Hodgson said the man was standing in knee-deep cold water for about 45 minutes.

Medical responders examined the man on site and reported he was "extremely cold" but in good condition, Hodgson said. He refused further medical treatment.

The snowmobilers said they were aware the lake was there, even though it was covered in snow, the sheriff's office reported. The snowmobile was still underwater in the lake Wednesday night.

Hodgson cautioned that even though it's December and the lake sits at approximately 7,500 feet above sea level, the mountains haven't experienced a "hard freeze" yet.

"Once you start to go on water like that, you've got to be very, very careful," he said. "Any ice or water right now can be very dangerous."

McKenzie Romero

Twitter: @McKenzieRomero

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