INTERNATIONAL FALLS, Minn. (AP) -- An International Falls couple escaped when their pickup truck broke through ice on Rainy Lake, but they couldn't free their 7-month-old daughter, who was in a car seat strapped inside.
A diver recovered the body of Ciera R. Schulz on Sunday morning in about 11 feet of water after authorities spotted the truck's location from an airplane.
Jay A. Schulz, 35, and his wife, Darcie R. Schulz, 28, were driving west on the lake at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday after hauling rocks earlier, said Koochiching County Sheriff Duane Nelson.
Because of blowing snow and standing water on top of the ice, they mistakenly veered off the ice road and drove near Stop Island, where ice conditions have deteriorated, Nelson said. The pickup plunged into the water.
The occupants of a second vehicle following the Schulz truck saw the pickup drop into the water and were able to rescue the couple.
The sheriff's department couldn't find the site late Saturday because the description of the location wasn't correct.
Nelson said deputies found several areas of open water and bad ice and said the situation was dangerous. The search was called off at 3:30 a.m. Sunday, and the air search started at daylight.
When the site was found, deputies walked the last 150 yards using chisels to check ice conditions as they got closer.
Nelson canceled the Rainy Lake Sportfishing Club's annual fishing derby planned for this Sunday.
''There might be good ice at the place where the derby is held, but we just couldn't take the chance,'' he said Monday.
Dave Peterson, the club's activities and information chairman, said a ''dry-land derby'' will likely be scheduled at a later date.
Nelson said ice conditions on parts of Rainy Lake seem adequate for vehicles, while other areas are deteriorating fast as a result of the recent unusually warm, rainy weather.
In addition, water standing on top of the ice makes it difficult to see where ice roads were plowed, and stopping vehicles quickly on the wet ice is difficult, he said.
Nelson noted that many people brought fish houses off the ice over the weekend, even though anglers in the northern part of the state have until March 15 to remove them. Fish houses south of a line along state Highway 200 and U.S. Highway 2 must be removed by Tuesday.
Despite the official deadline, the Department of Natural Resources urged anglers to check ice conditions frequently due to the mild weather.
''If this warm trend continues, I'd be very worried about the safety of the ice,'' said Jim Reil, the DNR's information officer for the northwest region. ''Moving water can wear away ice from underneath. It could be a couple inches in one area and a foot and a half thick a few feet away.''
Voyageurs National Park closed its Rainy Lake ice road Friday because of deteriorating conditions, according to Dennis Kaleta, Rainy District ranger.
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