(Monett-Times.com) - Captain Danny Fowler of the Monett Fire Department was breaking ice at the scene of what appeared to be a fall through the ice at Monett's South Park lake.
Fowler indicated the lake dropped from approximately four feet to seven feet in the space of about a foot, and then again to nine feet. [Melonie Robertsemail@example.com] [Order this photo]
A $3 dare and a hole in the Monett City Park Lake sparked an intense effort over concern of a possible drowning on Monday.
At 1:35 p.m., Park Superintendent Russ Balmas asked police to investigate footprints in the snow that led to a hole in the ice. There were no return footprints.
Monett police, firefighters and a crew from the Barry-Lawrence Ambulance District responded in search of a possible body in the lake.
"I believe there's someone under there," said Fire Chief Tom Jones. "The lake is going to have to be searched. We hope no one is in there but they'll have to be brought out either way."
Officers called local diver Tom Jaglowitz to go into the water and investigate. At 2:45 p.m. Jaglowitz reported low visibility hampered his efforts. A dive team from Newton County with dry suits better able to withstand frigid temperatures arrived and were preparing to enter the water when teens arrived to say the search was unnecessary.
According to the teens, one of their 16-year-old friends had taken a $3 bet to cross the lake. The boy made his crossing between 9 and 10 p.m. on Sunday, recording his trip on his phone. He fell through the ice but managed to crawl out again. He showed the video to friends at school.
One of the firefighters commented, "It's better than a body."
"We are certainly happy that everyone is okay," said Monett Police Sergeant Dennis Camp. "We certainly don't condone dangerous behavior, especially for a video. The case is under review to see if charges will be filed."
The City Park Lake was built in the mid-1920s by the Izaak Walton League and rebuilt by the Monett Sportsmen's League with assistance from contractor M.E. Gillioz in 1953. The lake holds approximately 5 million gallons of water.
There are no known previous drownings in the lake.