On thin ice: is frozen lake and pond water safe to skate on? - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

On thin ice: is frozen lake and pond water safe to skate on?

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Two 15-year-old boys are safe after they fell through ice on the west side of Washington near Seattle. The boys say they thought the ice was thick enough and found out too late they were wrong. Eastern Washington is littered with lakes and ponds and there are more than 50 in Spokane County alone so how do you know when it's safe?

Spokane resident Stephanie Schrimshire loves to be out on the ice. "It's free. It's open. We feel like it's ours. You got the sky and the trees," said Schrimshire.  But she doesn't go on a typical ice skating rink. She skates on a pond, frozen over by the cold temperatures, covered with snow and hidden dangers.  "You can tell if it's not good because it's mushy over by the shoreline. If you are starting to sink there, you don't want to be out in the middle," said Schrimshire.

Cracking ice has crossed her mind before, even after skating for decades. "When my son is up here by himself, I worry because he has gone into his waist before," said Schrimshire.

Though it's never stopped her from enjoying the pond at Lincoln Park.

According to a graphic KHQ found from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, ice is never 100 percent safe. It does show that at four inches thick, you can go ice fishing. Five inches thick, you can go snowmobiling, and 8 to 12 inches you can drive a small car.

Even though people will take the risk, the city of Spokane says they never encourage it because of safety reasons.  

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