Sunken Ford F350 poses a towing challenge in icy Pontoon Lake

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories — May 7, 2015 — Locals are scratching their heads over how to go about retrieving an $80,000 Ford F350 diesel truck, currently sitting at the bottom of a frozen lake just outside of Yellowknife.

EDGE YK reports that on the night of May 5, the vehicle’s owner was driving near the Pontoon Lake boat launch, around 30 km outside of the city, when his brand-new 2012 model broke through the 25-cm thick ice.

The man, along with his dogs, was able to escape to safety unharmed, and took to informing nearby residents, the RCMP and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of the incident.

The truck sank approximately 4.5 metres, leaving a massive hole in its wake.

Francois Rossouw lives on Pontoon Lake, and says getting a tow truck to the area — which is covered in candled ice — would be difficult.

“I was thinking about it. If you had large mats to disperse the weight, that might work. But the ice is so rotten it probably wouldn’t hold,” he said in the report, adding that while a barge might be another option, the logistics of getting it there would also prove risky.

The F350 isn’t the first vehicle to fall victim to Pontoon Lake. After his truck broke through in November 1999, Garth Wallbridge had to wait two months for the forming lake ice to harden before calling on a local towing company. Age Automotive’s tactic included a tow truck with a moveable deck, using the deck as a sloping ramp and attaching a cable to the vehicle.

While Wallbridge’s insurance company covered the $4,000 cost of the haul, Judy Mclinton, manager of communications with ENR, told EDGE that owners of vehicles that break through the ice are responsible for any costs related to their removal.

Whether an insurance company will foot the bill of hauling the F350 depends on the owner’s coverage, according to a Calgary-based insurance broker.

There is no sign that fuel is leaking from the pick-up, and no set plans are in place for how to approach its recovery.

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