Crews tear down ice caves at Crystal Beach

FORT ERIE, ON. (WIVB) – If you were planning a trip across the border to see those unusual ice caves, you have missed your chance. Crews rolled out heavy equipment on Wednesday to knock them down.

For many who ventured out to Crystal Beach on Wednesday to see the unusual ice formations along Lake Erie, it was a disappointing sight to see emergency crews knocking them down.

PHOTO GALLERY | Find pictures of the ice caves before the demolition here

Fort Erie Fire Chief Larry Coplen explained, “Some very long cracks have appeared and people for the most part are staying out. We do have some individuals still going into them so we’re giving Mother Nature a little bit of help and knocking them down today.”

The weather has been warming, making the ice caves unstable and unsafe. Even sightseers agreed it was right to knock them down.

Ellen Butler said, “Because we were here half an hour ago and that crack between the two of them opened up about four inches just in that short time.”

Sustained winds off the lake recently shoved large pieces of ice into the shore, piling them up into caves and formations that haven’t been seen in years. Emergency crews knew this was special for people to see but their priority is safety.

Crystal Beach District Fire Chief Doug Atkins said, “Even though they’ve been asked, they’ve been warned the dangers of it, cracks have opened up, particularly in the last couple of days. We’re still seeing people going into the caves. They’re putting their children under these caves where there’s the potential of them falling down and hurting somebody.”

Hundreds of people visited over the holiday weekend but they are the lucky and the last ones to see these unusual sculptures whipped up by our unusual winter conditions.

“It’s going to fall, so he has to do it. I’m just glad I’m here to see it,” Butler said.

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