Big Lake's thin ice swallows another vehicle

Posted: Thursday, February 08, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A family of four was forced to swim Sunday after their Chevrolet Suburban fell through ice on a channel of Big Lake.

Alaska State Troopers said it's the fourth time this winter vehicles have broken through ice on channels of the lake system southwest of Wasilla.

The vehicle was driven by William Burgher, 46, of Elmendorf Air Force who was attempting to cross the channel between Mud Lake and Big Lake. Burgher, his wife Lorraine, and their two children, ages 11 and 12, had to crawl through an open window as water flooded the vehicle.

The family was able to get on top of the vehicle and was rescued by members of the Big Lake community.

A snowmachine trailer and two snowmachines also fell through the ice.

Troopers said previous similar incidents involved vehicles driving from Big Lake to Mud Lake or Mud Lake to Flat Lake.

Trooper said mild weather has resulted in thin ice on some of the locations, and water moving in the channels prevents thicker ice from forming.

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