2019 Ice Season Fatalities

This page contains summaries of reports on ice fatalities during the 2019 ice season that typically runs from November 2018 to April 2019.  The information mostly comes from newspaper or news broadcasts.  Occasionally accidents that do not involve a fatality will be included if they are instructive. When it make some assumptions about that the root causes for the accident.



The above picture is from Google Maps

November 4, 2018, Fish Mountain AK, 

A 63 year old subsistence fisherman broke through ice on the Fish River (red mark). He was able to call his family and tell them what had happened and where he was.  Difficult weather conditions delayed the recovery for several days. 



Above picture from Google Maps

November 19, 2098, 3:30 PM,  Clear Lake Iowa, 1600 N 24th St.  A 28 year old woman was walking her dog. The dog walked an ice covered  pond.  The woman walked out on the ice in a attempt retrieve the dog and broke through.  She was rescued by the first policemen to arrive on the surface.  The Fire Station two miles away..  

 more on dogs and ice 




November 23, 2018, South Sioux City , Nebraska, Private Pond.

A hunter shot a goose who landed on the ice.  The retriever broke though.  The hunter broke through trying to rescue his dog.  Other hunters rescued the hunter and his dog with a canoe.

Life jackets for the dog and the hunters would improve the odds of a good outcome. 


November 22, 2019. 12:25 PM,  Montezuma, IA, private pond.

A 6 year old boy broke through the ice near a dam on a private pond.  He died.  His 12 year old  sister and their year old father were rescued by first responders.  

The average temperature for the previous two weeks was about 15 degrees. Inlets  and outlets offend have thin ice or open water.  Outlets are usually worse.  

More about kids  


December 9, 2018, Wyoming, MI.  9 PM Battjes Park

A 38 year old woman  took her dog for a walk.  The dog returned home wet and with a leash.  The victum was found under the ice by rescue personell.

More and Dogs and Ice 


December 8, 2019  Fish Trap Lake North of Cushing  MN

Two men (68 and 71).  They were trying to cross a pressure ridge.   One man was found inside the Polaris Side by Side.   




December 19, 2018, Guelph ONT, Guelph Lake, 3:30 PM

A 62 year woman was saling her  DN iceboat with her spouce when she broke through.  Her spouce attpemted to rescue her and ended up in the water, unable to get out. First Responders got them out.  She passed away and he survived.

The accident took place about 200 feet off shore. The temperatures over the last 10 days coming up to the accident averaged in the mid 20 degree range.  The many newspaper articles about the accident described the as careful about checkding the ice and other safety measures.  It looks like they did not have ice claws and may not throw ropes.  Some older DNs do not have watertight compartments so they have minimal flotation. It sounds like they may have been using only boat which would make things more difficlut. 


January 7, 2019   3 PM  Sparta MI  Perch Lake

Two boys (8 and 12) were on the ice near the dam on the west end of Perch Lake. They  broke through. 12 year old boy were able to hang onto the edge of the ice until rescuers got to him.  The nine year old boy did not survive.   

Dams often have thin or no ice near them.  The amount of weakening depends on water temperature, depth, flow rate, and other factors.  In this case there may have been siginficant weakening of the ice on the many warm days aleading up the the tragedy.  

Life jackets would probably have been the most important piece of safety gear.  After that, ice claws, test poles and rope would be the most helpful.  If you live near frozen water you might consider getting them life jacket and explain why they should be used on water and ice.  



 January 22, 2019  Lake Winnebago. 9:30 PM.  

Four people were riding near the edge of Lake Winnebago.  One ATV with a 23 year old man and a 22 year old passanger broke through the ice.  The second ATV with a 55 year old man also broke through.  A 69 year old man did not break through.  The 23 old man self rescued,  got his pasenger out but was not able to rescue the 55 year old man who died.

Basic safety gear probably would have saved the day.


January 26, 2019  Old Lyme CT  Rogers Lake

Two men were skating at 3:30 pm on Rogers Lake. They both broke through. One of the men died and one recovered.

In one of the news video's the broken ice looked to be less than 1.5".  The four days running up to the the peak temp was 56 degrees and it never got below freezing.  The 26th was a little colder but it was far from firming up the ice from the previous thawing.

They should have test poles, ice claws, throw ropes and better sence than to go out on such margional ice.


February 1, 2019  1PM  Dover NH,  Bellamy River.

A 12 year old did not return home after school.  His body was found under the ice on the river.  

More on kids and ice



February 9, 2019  aproximately 4:30 PM  Stockbridge WI. Lake Winnebag L  

A 56 year old man was riding his his snowmobile, hit a natural obstruction, was ejected and then was hit by the snowmobile.  Alchohol was involved.


February 9, 2019  Nashville WI





February 14, 2019   Berwick Maine  Salmon Falls River

Two men were riding snowmobiles on the Salmon Falls River at abouy 6PM.  Both of them broke through and managed to get back on the ice only to fall in again before getting off the river.  One of the men (59 years old) died 9 days later with complications.  




February 24  7:37 AM

A 48 year old fisheran and his buddy broke through.  The second man was able to get to shore and call 911 but was unable to reach the first man.  They had no safety equipment.  For fishermen on foot they need a life jacket/foat coat of float suit.  That would buy time for Rescue time to get there before you drown.  Ice claws will give traction to make getting out easier and more certain.  A test pole or spud is very helpful for identifying and avoiding weak ice and a throw rope to give you a better chance of successfully rescuing your buddy from 70 feet from he is.  


March 12, 2019,  5:30  PM   Van Zandt , WA, Private Pond

Two men(49 and 73) drowned trying to rescue two dogs. One of the dogs self rescued.

Leashes, staying  on shore or calling 911 immediately  probably would have saved both men and the deceased dog.  

More on dogs and ice.  



March 26, 2019  Champlain New York

A 57 year old woman slipped on the ice and fell along the edge of Lake Champlain.  She died of hypothermia. She frequently walked in this area. 

Foot traction is a greatly under utilized tool for getting through winter.  There are lots of types and all of them are way cheaper than the cost of an injury.  If you are doing  higher risk activities, a helmet, knee pads, hip pads and elbo pads reduce the injury risk.  

Style:  Most skaters wack their knees often enough that they wear knee pads.  In the US most skanters wear a helmit.  In Sweden,  Helmets are used at a lower  rate.   





On April 10, 2019 a 78 year old iceboater collided with a pressure ridge at about 3:40 PM on the Bay of Quinte, a popular iceboating venue in southern Ontario. The boat stopped abruptly.  He was given first aid promptly and was declared dead at the hospital. 

Late day sunlight may have have been a factor. The iceboater may have attempted to cross the ridge at a low point.  If you know details about the ice please get in touch.  

DN iceoboats have collisions on race courses reasonably often.  Most of the time they are between two boats and the sailors usually escape with minor injuries.  Occasionally death results.  I know of three fatalities in the past 20 years.

There are probably somewhere around 1000 DN's sailing in North America.  Well tuned racing boats can achieve 60 mph.  40 mph is more typical top speed.  


April 6, 2019,  Meeting House Pond in Marlborough NH. Probably early evening. A man was walking his dog.The dog went out onto ice on the pond and broke through about 50 yards from shore.  The dog was a Golden Retriever.  An attempt to rescue the dog with a 6" log. was made.  The ice was well thawed with many days in the 40's, 50's and 60's.  A heavy, wet dog is very difficult to get back on the ice from the water.  A leash would give control of the dog.  A dog life jacket would keep the dog on the surface wile Rescue got the scene. 





January 21 , 2019  Storm Lake IA.

A 40 year old father and his 8 year old and two daughters (9 and   ) drove onto the ice of Storm Lake at dusk.  The vehicle broke through. A bystander saw the vehicle promptly so Rescue was able to get there quickly. All the children were found on the ice but the father was not.  The father and son died.  It is unclear why they had driven onto the ice.

There were two (maybe 3) other breakthroughs on Storm Lake by late January   The Des Moines Register published video: Six Tips for Frozen Lakes.