Nubansuit Lake Tragedy
On Friday 1/7/11 Willie Miles died on Nubanusit Lake in south central New Hampshire, leaving behind a young family and many friends.
I was shocked by how abusively outspoken some of the comments were Manchester Union Leader newspaper website. This is hardly the time for disrespectful tirades about using snowmobiles on ice. Thankfully other posters, family members and friends have set things straight. My condolences to Mr Miles' family and friends. My apologies for any additional grief I may have added with my after the fact comments about safety measures.
A friend posted a well intended suggestion that if the four fishermen involved had read the LakeIce site they would have 'known better'. For starters, this site has been on the web for four weeks and it has not been widely publicized. In addition the site is not as well sorted out for snowmobiles as it is for skaters and sailors. That is going to take some time.
I visited the ice on Sunday, two days after the accident. The thin ice was mixed with thick ice in a wide band that runs across most of the width of the lake. It is just east of a low island (reef) about 3000 feet from the launch area (see map below). The ice was hard to read on foot. Even with a test pole in hand I strayed onto the 2" ice a couple of times. It would have been even harder to read from a moving snow machine. One of the local fishermen I spoke with thought the four fishermen involved in the accident had checked the ice on the way out and probably lost their path on the way back in. This is clearly a case of bad things happening to good people. Many of us have been in a perilous situation on ice at one time or another and the main difference is almost all of us have been luckier.
Tragedies like this get us all to think harder about ice risks and how to manage them. Thankfully, given the amount of activity on our frozen lakes, tragedies are relatively rare (of course that does not make them any less painful). Ice will always have risks that come with all the good things we like to do on it. The intent of the Lakeice site is to lay out information that might help each of us better understand the risks we face and help make choices that reduce those risks.
Click here to link to an article run in Nashua Telegraph on January 11, 2011.
Click Here for further investigation and discussion about what may have caused the large amount of thin icie on this part of Nubansuit Lake during the winter of 2011.