3 Men Die on a Not-So-Frozen Vermont Lake

Officials are now warning people off the ice, perhaps thinner than usual due to warm temps
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2023 9:50 AM CST
3 Men Die on a Not-So-Frozen Vermont Lake
A frozen Lake Champlain.   (Getty Images/ygluzberg)

Heading out onto frozen Lake Champlain is a popular winter activity among Vermonters, but state officials are now warning people away from the ice after three men died on the lake since last week, reports NPR. Per a report from Vermont State Police, the first man to fall through the ice was 62-year-old Wayne Alexander of Grand Isle, who went out Thursday to do some ice fishing. When he didn't come home that evening, a family member went looking for him, found his truck in the parking lot, and called authorities. Alexander's body was found in the water in a flotation device about 9:30pm local time.

A second report details the deaths on Saturday of two brothers, 71-year-old John Fleury of Williamstown and 88-year-old Wayne Fleury of East Montpelier. That morning, emergency crews received a call just after 7 that a utility terrain vehicle with two people inside had plunged through the ice. First responders on the scene pulled out John Fleury first and rushed him to the hospital, where he later died. A diver later found Wayne Fleury, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Both of last week's accidents are said to be "not considered suspicious at this time," per the police reports.

The Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife is now warning people to stay off the lake's surface, and a yearly ice-fishing tournament on the lake that was to have been held over the weekend was nixed, reports CNN. "Due to well above normal temperatures that the region has experienced over the past 2 months, ice thickness on area lakes and ponds is highly variable," the National Weather Service office based out of Burlington noted on Facebook on Saturday. "Ice is never 100% safe. If you don't know, don't go!" (Read more Lake Champlain stories.)

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