Thin ice has claimed 12 people's lives this winter in Latvia

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State Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) have had seventeen calls this season to incidents where people had fallen through ice. Only five of those people were saved, Latvian Radio reported January 30.

Twelve of these incidents had a lethal outcome, said VUGD spokesman Agris Asups.

"Given the changing weather conditions, being on the ice is dangerous. It poses risks not only to human health, but also life. The ice layer is formed gradually from the coast, and therefore further from the shore the ice can be unevenly thick and can break.

"It should be mentioned that ice is thinner in areas where there is a stronger stream in water bodies, industrial waters or sources are flowing into water reservoirs. Similarly, near springs, bridges and places where reeds, bushes or other plants grow. In addition, snow snowfall on an ice blanket makes a misleading impression that the ice blanket has formed thicker than it actually is," said Asups. 

 VUGD calls on residents to be careful on the ice. Special attention should be paid to the safety of children at water bodies, as well as to take care of pets and livestock, which often need to be lifted off the ice by rescuers.

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