STILLWATER -- The state Department of Environmental Conservation is monitoring the situation after a pickup truck sank in Saratoga Lake last weekend while being used to reach a second vehicle on the ice.
The department hopes to see the vehicle removed this weekend, once the bitter cold subsides.
In a statement, DEC said that environmental conservation officers received a report on Sunday, Jan. 27 about a vehicle through the ice about a half-mile off Brown's Beach, with its front wheels stuck in a pressure crack in the ice.
The southern part of the lake is popular with ice fishermen, who when ice is thick enough sometimes drive onto the ice.
DEC said its officers determined that the vehicle had actually gotten stuck the night before. The unidentified owner and a friend returned at 2 a.m. Sunday with a full-size pickup truck to try to free the first vehicle, but the second vehicle broke through the ice and sank. Both occupants were able to escape, and returned to shore safely.
The men returned in daylight and were able to get the first truck off the ice, but couldn't find the second truck. The two men, working with the environmental conservation officers and some local residents, found the second truck about a quarter-mile from shore, mostly submerged. Attempts to remove it since then have been unsuccessful, though another attempt is expected this weekend.
"The vehicle currently remains in the water. DEC has been monitoring the efforts daily. No sheens or other signs of automotive fluid in the water have been observed to date," DEC said in a statement on Friday.
DEC has required the owner to clearly mark the area around any open water resulting from the salvage operation. "DEC does not plan to take any enforcement action at this time, provided the vehicle is removed in a timely manner and no automotive fluids are released into the environment," the agency statement said.
Ice was late to form this year because of warm weather in December and the first part of January. DEC officials said the incident is a reminder that people should be careful on the ice -- something they've tried to remind people of before.
"This past week's cold spell has improved conditions for ice fishing across New York state," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a Jan. 17 press release. "Still, anglers should keep safety in mind and test the ice before venturing out to enjoy some hard-water fishing."
DEC says there should be 12 inches of ice to support a car or small pickup truck, and 15 inches for a large pickup truck.