2 people die after falling through thin ice in Evergreen and Loveland

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DENVER -- Two deaths within just one day along the Front Range.

Their common factor is thin ice.

A 4-year-old girl died after plunging into an icy pond in Loveland  Wednesday night.

Then, Thursday, a 67-year-old Idledale man died after falling into Evergreen Lake.

Their deaths may be a warning to us all.

Greg Henika, 67, fell through a weak spot in the ice, while driving an ATV on Evergreen Lake about 9:30 a.m.

He’d been marking spots for an ice golf-on-the-lake fundraiser Sunday.

A witness said he was under water for 30 to 40 minutes.

“That tractor has been out here a month making rinks and stuff. I was surprised to hear it. Because I know that ice is plenty thick enough to drive on,” says Brenden Lahman, who was ice-fishing at the lake.

But experts say you can’t judge the strength of ice by one factor--like how it looks, or how old it is, its thickness, or the temperature outside.

100 percent safe ice does not exist.

It is a sad fact another family in Loveland has painfully learned--as their friends gathered at a Fort Collins church to mourn 4-year-old Naomi Delgado.

She wandered away from a playground to a pond just feet away while her family watched a nearby soccer practice at Loveland Sports Park Wednesday night. She fell through the thin ice. Her dad pulled her from the water--but he was unable to revive her.

The only reminder about the tragedy is a set of adult footsteps leading to a hole in the ice, which then return to land.

Friends also leave behind gifts that include a hula hoop, which we can only imagine the little girl loved to play.

“I think this incident underscores the fact there is no safe ice anywhere in Northern Colorado. We have temperature fluctuations at this time of year that leads to thinner ice than people might expect,” said an Evergreen Fire Department spokesperson.

Friends have set up various fundraisers for the Delgado family. One has been set up through Poudre High School. Another is at www.GiveForward.com under Naomi-Mina Delgado Fund.

Also, there will be a candlelight vigil Friday at 5:30 p.m. for the 4-year-old at Poudre High School.