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Video: Cars Fall Through Lake Geneva Ice While Parked For Winterfest

By Marielle Shaw in News on Feb 8, 2016 2:42PM

Parking was at a premium in Lake Geneva this weekend as the small town hosted its annual Winterfest and the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition for 2016.

Thousands of people from all over Wisconsin and Illinois came to see the beautiful sculptures, see the parade, sample wine and chili or all of the above. And even though Saturday's temperatures were around 40, Lake Geneva's ice cover was said to be a foot thick. So, as is sometimes done in the Midwest, cars were directed to park on the lake's ice.

Unfortunately, the ice proved not to be strong enough, and vehicle owners and onlookers alike were shocked to watch as the cars broke through the ice and sunk into the lake. Some 15 to 20 cars were on their way to a watery grave.

There's been much debate on social media regarding the responsible parties—whether those parking on the ice should have known better given the temperatures or officials for the fest were to blame. According to the Minnesota DNR and the Farmer's Almanac, ice 12 inches thick can sustain the weight of up to a 3.5 ton truck. It's unclear whether ice depth was incorrectly reported, or there was a significant melt, or other issues caused the collapse.

In the end, we're glad nobody was hurt, as the cars that sunk were unoccupied.

Check out our videos of the sinking ice parking, including this special live report on events as they unfolded from 9-year-old Brodie DeRousse of Antioch, IL.