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Ice Thinning in Southern Finland; Porvoo Man Drowns

Recent warm conditions have melted the ice cover on the Gulf of Finland and southern lakes, making it unsafe for most outdoor activities. Authorities have reported one drowning death in the Porvoo area.

Heikkoa jäätä.
Image: YLE / Jyrki Lyytikkä

Coast Guard officials working in the Gulf recommend that people think carefully before venturing out on the sea ice. Although the ice may be as much as 10 centimetres thick on inland waters, it can break easily and therefore cannot support the weight of an adult.

On Sunday evening, a Porvoo man drowned after venturing onto the ice. The incident occurred in the village of Bengtsby on the island of Emäsalo. The man’s relatives called the emergency services when the man’s dog returned home wet, without its owner.

Rescue workers found the man, but were unable to resuscitate him. Jouni Virta, Duty Fire Officer with the Porvoo Emergency Service, said that residents claimed that they had been able to drive on the ice the previous week, when the ice was said to be 40 centimetres thick.

Coast Guard officials are also calling on boaters to ensure that their vessels are seaworthy and properly equipped before putting out to sea. They’re also warning them to be on the lookout for ice floes which could prevent their return to port or damage their vessels.

On Sunday, temperatures in the Gulf of Finland were recorded at between 2 and 6 degrees Celsius.

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