Two Friend Tragically Die in Ice Fishing Accident in Minnesota

Ice can be dangerous. Especially if the ice is frozen over a body of water. Normally, if you’re from Minnesota or other cold weather states, you learn at an early age when you can and cannot go on the ice safely. Unfortunately for these men, even with their vast knowledge and experience, the ice proved to be more than they could handle.

A tragedy on a central Minnesota lake leaves two-longtime friends dead after their ATV went through the ice late Sunday evening in Scandia Valley Township.

Wayne Vaverek, 68, and Leonard Sanoski, 71, did not return by sundown Sunday from fishing on Fish Trap Lake in Morrison County. Search crews later found their bodies, according to the sheriff’s department.

“They did everything together and they unfortunately found a bad spot in the water and they died together,” said friend John Brichacek.

Earlier in the day, Brichacek said he saw both men out fishing together, who had been going fish house-to-fish house in an ATV to check on other fishermen.

When the friends didn’t return home, Vaverek’s wife called Brichacek to look for them.

“We grabbed a couple of spot lights, went searching around, hollered for them, and nobody answered,” Brichacek said.

Rescue crews from around Morrison County joined the search efforts on the lake.

“When we were just about to give up, a light hit, we found where they fell through the water,” Brichacek said. “We did everything we could do in our power.”

Life-saving efforts were not able to save Vaverek, who died at the scene on the water’s edge.

On Monday, searchers returned to find the body of Sanoski, inside the cab of the side-by-side ATV approximately down 40 feet in the water.

The incident took place on a pressure ridge, a floating piece of piece, and was around 200 yards long by 75 yards wide, according to the sheriff.

“It’s a shame we lost both of them,” said Brichacek. “I just want people to know, wear those ice picks around your necks …keep yourself safe….have a backup plan…because you never know.”



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