Authorities in Maine are issuing urgent warnings to residents regarding ice safety following a tragic incident in which a father lost his life while attempting to rescue his son from a frozen pond.
The unfortunate incident occurred on January 26 when 51-year-old Kevin Howell and his 4-year-old son fell through the ice while crossing Etna Pond in Carmel, Maine, as reported by the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office.
After the fall, Howell managed to extricate his son from the frozen pond and instructed him to go home and alert his mother. The young boy successfully reached their residence, which was approximately 1/3 of a mile from the pond, and informed his mother about the incident.
Acting swiftly, the mother called 911 and armed herself with an anchor and rope before rushing to assist her husband, according to details provided by the sheriff’s office.
Upon reaching the lake, the mother attempted to secure the rope to the shore in an effort to rescue her husband but tragically fell into the frozen water herself.
Penobscot Sheriff Detective Jordan Norton, who happened to be in the vicinity and heard the 911 call, spotted Howell’s wife in the water. Norton bravely crawled onto the ice, utilizing the rope to pull the mother out of the freezing water.
Regrettably, despite these efforts, Howell remained unaccounted for. The sheriff’s office reported that after reuniting Howell’s wife and son, six Maine Warden Service divers and one State Police diver were dispatched to assist in the search. After an arduous 20-minute search, divers located Howell’s lifeless body.
In a separate incident on Saturday, five individuals, including three children, were rescued after their utility vehicle fell through the ice on Moose Pond in Denmark, Maine, according to CBS News affiliate WGME 13.
As a response to these incidents, authorities are emphasizing the importance of preparedness when venturing onto ice-covered surfaces. Residents are advised to equip themselves with essential tools like picks-of-life and ice chisels before going on ice.
Maine Game Warden Emerson Duplissie-Cyr highlighted the significance of these items, stating that they facilitate self-rescue if someone falls through the ice.
He stressed the importance of regularly checking the ice’s depth or thickness while traversing it, as conditions can vary significantly even within short distances. Continuous vigilance and precautionary measures are paramount for those venturing onto frozen bodies of water to ensure their safety.