2018-02-08 / Front Page

Ice fishermen lose lives after breaking through ice

FAIRHAVEN TOWNSHIP - Two ice fishermen reported missing were found deceased on Sunday.

Huron County Sheriff Kelly J. Hanson reported his department joined the search around 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Rose Island in Fairhaven Township for the missing men, Dennis W. Shaw, 73, of Fowlerville, and Willard E. Slider, 69, of Caro.

The search began after a local resident who was a friend of one of the missing pair received a voicemail from that victim indicating the two had broken through the ice and were requesting immediate help.

The search party - the friend, deputies and Airboat #152 - found an ATV and fish shanty in the water about one-half mile west of Rose Island.

With no sign of the fishermen and the water being about four-feet deep, two Tuscola County deputies aboard the airboat, in cold water gear, tethered themselves to the craft and began to search the surrounding water while Huron County divers were on the way.

After searching without success, the deputies re-boarded the airboat and expanded their search of surrounding ice.

At approximately 4:30 p.m., the airboat crew found both victims deceased about 900 feet northeast of the original scene in about four feet of water.

The victims were brought to shore and transported to Scheurer Hospital by the Sebewaing Ambulance Service.

The preliminary investigation indicated the fishing accident may have occurred around 9:30 a.m. The victim who originally called his friend for help was only able to reach the friend’s voicemail, and the voicemail didn’t arrive until 2:30 p.m.

Snow squalls, strong north winds and cold temperatures were believed to have played a major part in the accident.

Autopsies were scheduled as of press time.

The Huron County airboat is pictured here being loaded on its trailer after the incident.

“With repeated warnings over the last couple of weeks about unsafe ice already being issued, we once again remind anglers that the ice conditions are very unpredictable,” said Huron County Sheriff Kelly J. Hanson. “The thaws we’ve experienced this season and refreezes with added snow covering have made for unstable ice.”

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