Posted at: 01/19/2013 1:24 PM
Updated at: 01/19/2013 10:12 PM
By: Scott Theisen
A baby girl remains in critical condition at a Minneapolis hospital Saturday after she was pulled from a vehicle that fell through the ice on Lake Minnetonka Friday night.
Jonathan Markle of Mound was driving his family's sport utility vehicle when it broke through the ice below Halstead Bay Bridge along County Road 44 in Minnetrista just after 5 p.m. Friday. His wife, Amanda, 2-year-old daughter, Isabelle, and 9-month-old daughter, Tabitha, were also in the vehicle.
A Mound firefighter who lives near the bridge and a friend helped Amanda and Isabelle out of the water.
Jonathan Markle tried unsuccessfully to rescue Tabitha, who was strapped in the backseat of the submerged vehicle.
Two Mound firefighters wearing protective suits pulled the baby from the SUV. The firefighters had to unzip their suits and let some of the cold water in to allow them to go underwater.
Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek says the girl was underwater for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Tabitha was transferred to Children's Hospital in Minneapolis from Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia, where the family had been taken Friday night.
During a Saturday morning news conference Stanek said the girl was in "extremely critical condition."
The other three family members were treated for hypothermia and are expected to fully recover, the sheriff's office said.
The family was believed to have been at a local restaurant on the lake before the incident. Stanek said there are indications that alcohol may have been involved, but results of a blood alcohol test are pending.
The ice in Hennepin County is variable, Stanek said, adding that it's especially unsafe under bridges.
The channel where the SUV broke through is notorious for never being totally frozen, he said.
Within two hours of the incident, two other vehicles went through the ice on the lake - one in Echo Bay and one in Excelsior Bay. Everyone was okay in those two cases.
A thin ice advisory is in place for all bodies of water in Hennepin County, the sheriff's office reminded residents Saturday.