Rising Temperatures Causes Danger On Lake Erie

February 24, 2011 Updated Feb 24, 2011 at 2:37 PM EDT

By Jaclyn Asztalos

February 24, 2011 Updated Feb 24, 2011 at 2:37 PM EDT

Rising temperatures are causing the ice on Lake Erie to melt making it hazardous for many fisherman and ATV ice riders to be on that water.

Channel 7 has exclusive video of a group of ATV riders who were stranded on the lake after approaching a large crack in the ice that was impassable. The Erie County Sheriff's Helicopter was called out to help.

"Soon as the snow pack start to melt and the water starts to rise it erodes the ice quickly and you can't even see it from above," Art Litzinger with the Erie County Sheriff's Office said.

Last week, a snowmobile and its driver had to be pulled from the water after falling into a hole in the ice.

As temperatures continue to rise, the Sheriff's Office said the risk on the ice just gets worse.

"With all the dynamics of Lake Erie. It's really never safe to be on the lake. We've seen it time and time again year after year," Scott Patronik with the Sheriff's Office said.

Despite the warnings, dozens of fisherman, snowmobilers and people riding on ATV's took to the ice, Thursday. One group who calls themselves the "Ice Rats" said they go out every time they feel the conditions are right.

"It's not as dangerous as people think. It's just that the guys get in trouble because they are not pay attention to what they're doing," ATV rider Jim Horbett said.

They said you have to be prepared with warm clothes, communication equipment in case of an emergency and a GPS system. They also said traveling with a group and have someone with experienced on the ice are two other ways to stay safe.

The men said they will take their chances to be able to ride and fish even if it's on thin ice.

"The best part about this is eating the Lake Erie Perch. I'll probably be doing this until I can't walk no more," fisherman Bob Stelock said.