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Two men rescued from Iron Range lake

(Photo courtesy Northland FireWire)

Two men were taken to a hospital after falling through the ice on an Iron Range lake Monday afternoon.

The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office reported that Paul Ollila, 39, and Travis McDonald, 36, both of Iron, were pulling a portable ice house and fishing gear across St. Mary’s Lake in Fayal Township, just south of Eveleth, when their snowmobile broke through the ice.

Sgt. Wayne Toewe said the men were found clinging to ice in what had become a “very large area of open water.” The incident was reported around 12:30 p.m., but authorities said the men were likely in the water for about 30 to 45 minutes before they were able to signal for help and have first responders arrive on scene.

Both were taken to Essentia Health-Virginia by ambulance and were being treated for hypothermia and exposure, Toewe said.

Hibbing first responders were also called to a report of a person falling through the ice earlier Monday. Officials said a woman was reported to have fallen through Kelly Lake around 5 a.m., though she made it safely to shore before authorities arrived on scene.

“The Sheriff's Office wants to remind the public that with the warmer, wet weather, ice conditions are unpredictable and can vary just short distances apart,” Toewe said.