Forestry worker falls through ice while snowshoeing on a day off

Safety Alert Type: 
Wilson Lake (near Peachland, BC)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

While enjoying a day off, a forestry worker fell through ice and into the lake. He was leading a group of people snowshoeing when he suddenly fell though the ice, ending up chest deep. He had crossed this same location many times throughout the years, but never had fallen through the ice. Fortunately, people in his group were able to reach him with their hands from the edge and pull him out.

It is not easy to extract yourself with snowshoes on and felt packs full of swamp water (not to mention feeling a bit panicky, as he could not touch the bottom). Had he been alone he quite possibly would not have been able to escape.

Another factor on his side was the outside temperature of minus -3. Any colder and the 1.5 kilometre walk out would have been dangerous, being soaking wet from the extremely cold water.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Avoid waterways unless absolutely sure of ice conditions
  • Don’t trust any ice conditions when working alone
  • Always pack extra socks and some small plastic bags to put over your feet if they do get wet.

Lake Ice Conditions:

  • 7 cm (3 inches) or less - STAY OFF
  • 10 cm (4 inches) - ice fishing, walking, cross country skiing
  • 12 cm (5 inches) - one snowmobile or ATV
  • 20 - 30 cm (8 - 12 inches) - one car or small pickup truck • 30 - 38 cm (12 - 15 inches) - one medium truck (pickup or van)


For more information on this submitted alert: 

Doug Campbell, Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd. (250) 768-5131

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