After fight with parents, angry teen trudges 6 miles across frozen lake

Kids can have hot tempers. This one found an unusual (and dangerous) way to cool off.
by Ree Hines / / Source: TODAY

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It's not unusual for a teen to have a hot temper, but one boy in Utah found an unexpected way to cool off following an argument with his mom and dad.

On Friday, the 13-year-old took a six-mile hike across a frozen lake after a fight with his folks, according to police and local reports.

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Walking across an frozen lake is tricky — and reckless — when the ice is thin.Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images

While the boy and his family haven't been identified, his frightening adventure was shared by Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon, who pointed out that the kid was lucky he didn't end up in serious trouble.

Cannon tweeted about the teen's tantrum after search and rescue crews found the boy. Police were on the scene on the eastern shore of the lake when the boy finished crossing it at around 5:30 p.m., local KSL reported.

"When a 13 year old gets in an argument with his parents what will he do?" Cannon wrote. "A-Apologize, B-Go to his room and do homework, C-Walk from Saratoga Springs to Lindon Marina across barely frozen Utah Lake, or D-Go to the kitchen and do the dishes."

He then added, "If you guessed C you win!"

The kid won, too — sort of. At very least, he beat the odds. That's because, somehow, he made it all the way across the cold lake on a warm day.

A frozen lake in Utah (not the one the boy crossed). The boy told police he heard ice cracking the whole time he was walking.
A frozen lake in Utah (not the one the boy crossed). The boy told police he heard ice cracking the whole time he was walking. Shutterstock

"The ice was, and still is, very thin," Cannon explained to TODAY.com. "At our location on the east shore of Utah Lake, where the teen arrived after his cold walk, the ice was less than two inches thick. The temperature throughout that afternoon was 55 degrees, unseasonably warm."

"How the teen did not break through the ice we do not know," Cannon added. "For his last 20 to 30 yards, we could hear the ice beneath him cracking. He told us it had been doing that a lot of the way across the lake."

While an icy lake can crack even if it's frozen solid, the sergeant noted, that "this kind of crackling was different. It was clear it was near the breaking point."

The boy did eventually break through, just steps away from the shore. But, in the end, he suffered little more than a pair of cold, soggy feet.

Authorities did not find out the details about the quarrel that upset the teen (who, in true teen fashion, didn't even take his coat along for the trek, Cannon said on Twitter.)

"We didn’t even inquire, as we could not fathom an answer that would have caused us to say, 'Oh, now choosing to walk six miles across thin ice makes sense!'" Cannon added.

The boy's parents called police for help after he went missing on Friday afternoon. The family lives in Saratoga Springs, about an hour south of Salt Lake City.

Cannon told TODAY they were relieved he made it across safely, but also frustrated by his actions.

While Utah Lake is fairly shallow overall, portions of it are around 12 feet deep.

"Had he broken through the ice in that area, two to three miles from shore, the outcome would likely have been tragic," Cannon said.

This incident marked at least the second time a child got in trouble in icy waters in Utah last week.

Last week, Washington County Sheriff's Sgt. Aaron Thompson was hailed as a hero after he broke through a frozen pond to rescue an 8-year-old boy trapped under the ice near New Harmony, Utah, on Christmas Day.

That story had a happy ending, too. According to local reports, that boy recovered well enough to return home from the hospital on Friday.

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