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Four swim to safety as car enters Lake Bemidji

A car entered Lake Bemidji Monday evening after a driver attempted to drive over thin ice caused by an ice heave near Diamond Point Park. Efforts to remove the car from the lake took place Tuesday afternoon. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

A car traveling on Lake Bemidji Monday evening broke through the ice, leaving four people to swim for safety in the frigid water.

According to Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp, the car reportedly entered the lake around 6 p.m. after the driver drove into a section of open water 150 yards from the shoreline near Diamond Point Park.

The four occupants, who are between the ages of 15 and18, got out of the vehicle, swam to the edge of the ice and crawled out.

When law enforcement personnel arrived, they saw the vehicle submerged, with only the top of the car's radio antenna visible, Hodapp said.

Hodapp urged people to be familiar with the lake before consider driving on it.