3 Vermont fishermen die after falling through Lake Champlain ice; fishing tournament canceled

Officials are warning the public to be wary of thin ice due to unseasonably warm temperatures.

An annual ice fishing tournament held on Vermont’s Lake Champlain has reportedly been canceled after three people died falling through the lake’s ice in a three-day period.

The people who died were not affiliated with the Islands Ice Fishing Derby, but tournament organizers decided it was not safe to proceed, CNN reported.

On Feb. 9, Wayne Alexander, 62, of Grand Isle, Vt. fell through the ice on Lake Champlain, police said. Alexander left his home to go ice fishing around noon that day, but failed to return that evening. A relative went out looking for him, and found his truck parked in the fishing access area of Grand Isle State Park.


Alexander was located in the water at about 9:30 p.m. wearing a flotation suit, police said. He was brought to University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, where he was pronounced dead.

On Feb. 11, John Fleury, 71, of Williamstown, Vt. and his brother, Wayne Fleury, 88, of East Montpelier, Vt. fell through the lake’s ice, police said.

First responders received a report at about 7:10 a.m. that a utility terrain vehicle, or UTV, had broken through the ice. The Fleury brothers were in the vehicle at the time. Wayne Fleury was located inside the UTV by a diver and was pronounced dead on the scene, police said.

John Fleury was pulled from the water, brought to shore by first responders, and received emergency medical care. He was brought to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, police said.

The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife advised the public to stay off the ice on Lake Champlain due to unsafe conditions.

The National Weather Service’s Burlington office warned the public Saturday that the region had experienced “well above normal temperatures” over the past two months, and that ice thickness on lakes and ponds is highly variable.


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