Oklahomans warned to stay off of frozen ponds and lakes

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EDMOND, Okla. - After a bout of freezing cold weather over the holidays, people around the state are walking and playing on frozen ponds, and emergency crews say that could be fatal.

Already in Catoosa, one man died after falling through an icy pond Thursday night.

A UPS driver who saw and tried to save him also fell in, but survived, treated for hypothermia.

Now, others are reporting seeing kids playing on the ice.

The 4Warn Storm Team meteorologists warn the state is rarely cold enough, or long enough, for a safe ice thickness. A few cold days aren't enough.

The OKC Parks Natural Resources Manager, Scott Coplin, even taking action to warn residents not to take the risk.

"You can see footprint tracks on the ice in some parks, and in one case a large trash can was dragged to the middle of one of our ponds,” said Copelin. “That’s dangerous. Not only is it getting warmer now, but it’s impossible to tell how thick the ice is. It’s easy to fall through.”

"People tend to get a little overconfident," said Sgt. Jacob Stangl.

Sgt. Stangl said falling in could result in hypothermia or worse.

"There is a possibility for it to be fatal," he said.

If you find yourself on ice that's cracking beneath you, he said the best thing to do is lie down flat so that your body weight is spread over a wider surface area and less likely to crack one spot in the ice.

And if you see someone else fall in, he said you should try to pull them in with a rope or tree branch, because if you run out to pull them in, you could fall in, too.

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