A father and son from Michigan died Monday after falling through thin ice while fishing on Lake Alderman, approximately 40 miles northwest of Detroit. The pair were wearing snowmobile suits, which became heavy when exposed to the icy waters. The father and his boy were in the water approximately ten to fifteen minutes before a dive team pulled them out.
Reports Fox News on Feb. 2: “Authorities are investigating exactly how they fell, but believe that at some point the boy got cold and the two started to make their way off Alderman Lake in Highland, Mich. Two other fishermen were nearby and said they watched the two fall in. One of the witnesses believes the father went in after his son.”
The father was identified as David Michael Lyons, 30, and his son, Jackson Lyons, 4. They were fishing only ten feet out from the shore when they broke through the thin ice in approximately eight to ten feet of water. Both were taken to the hospital where they were pronounced dead within hours of one another.
According to local Detroit affiliate WXYZ.com, the 911 call came in at 10:36 a.m. on Monday and rescue personnel were on scene just six minutes later. The dive team was in the water at 10:55 a.m. and pulled Lyons and his boy out at about 11:09 a.m.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said, “This is a horrific reminder that we should always hold safety first when we undertake water-related activities. No ice is safe… especially due to the mild weather we have experienced this winter.”
Richard Cole, assistant fire chief with Highland Township, said people who venture out on the ice should always have a personal flotation device, even if they believe the ice to be think enough to hold their weight.
“Even two weeks ago, when we had colder weather, there was still open water on a lot of our lakes and ponds,” Cole said. “It’s just not safe to go out on there, but people still do it.”
Adds the Detroit Free Press: “Temperatures in metro Detroit on Monday reached into the mid-40s. With temperatures similarly above freezing over the weekend, multiple vehicles were pulled from Lake St. Clair after falling through ice. Six were pulled out Saturday, and no injuries were immediately reported.”
When temps break into the 40s, frozen ice will begin to thaw. The strongest ice has a bluish tint, while weaker ice looks milky and opaque. If the ice sheet is less than four inches, proceed with caution. Ice over five inches will easily support a man and will likely hold a snowmobile. Eight inches of ice will likely support a car.