WALKER -- Two St. Cloud men drowned Saturday after the pickup truck they were in broke through the ice on Leech Lake.
Kanh Lakhamone, 49, and Ngone Kounsa, 45, were recovered from the cab of their pickup in about 30 feet of water by the Itasca County Dive Team, Cass County Sheriff Randy Fisher reported.
Lakhamone's 20-year-old son and Kounsa's 10-year-old son were able to get out of the pickup and reach safety.
The accident happened about 10:45 a.m. two miles south of Stoney Point, on the west side of the main bay of Leech Lake.
Autopsies will be conducted at the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office in St. Paul.
Fisher, noting that driving on ice is never safe, said ice conditions can be erratic with the weather changing and with the abnormal winter the area has experienced.
For lake ice-out data in Minnesota, go to www.climate.umn.edu.
Assisting the Cass County Sheriff's Department were the Walker and Cohasset fire departments, the Walker Ambulance Service, the DNR and the Itasca County Sheriff's Department.
Lakhamone's and Kounsa's drownings were the third and fourth ice-related drownings in Minnesota in the 2001-02 winter season. On March 2, a 47-year-old Brainerd man drowned after driving his four-wheeler into open water on North Long Lake. An 80-year-old Brooklyn Center man drowned in Mille Lacs Lake Jan. 1 after the snowmobile he was a passenger on broke through the ice.
Four people drowned in ice-related accidents in Minnesota in 2001, including a snowmobiler who went under the ice on the Mississippi River in Aitkin County in March. Three people died in ice-related drownings in 2000.
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