26-Year-Old Man Riding Snowmobile Dies After Falling Through Ice on Mich. Lake


A 26-year-old man who was enjoying the day on a frozen Michigan lake died after his snowmobile fell through the ice, according to authorities.

In a statement to PEOPLE, Chief John Ellsworth of the Wolverine Lake Police Department confirms that the fatal incident unfolded on Sunday afternoon in Commerce Township.

Ellsworth says the 26-year-old Wixom resident had been riding his snowmobile on Wolverine Lake when it broke through the ice and into an area of open water.

As he sank deeper into the frigid waters, multiple witnesses at the scene called 911 and later "reported that they had lost sight of him," the Oakland County Sheriff's Office confirms.

The Oakland County Dive team, along with the Commerce Township Fire Department and the Wolverine Lake Police, all swiftly responded to the scene, where they found the man submerged in the freezing lake, according to Ellsworth.

Authorities believe he was "under the water for approximately an hour" before officials with the Oakland County Dive Team were able to rescue him.

The Oakland County Sheriff's Office notes that the man was submerged in approximately 26 feet of water.

After being pulled from the lake, authorities say the man was transported to Huron Valley Hospital.

On the way there, first responders continued to perform CPR on the victim in an attempt to save his life, NBC affiliate WDIV reported.

However, it was too late, as the man was pronounced dead at the hospital, Ellsworth confirms.

The Oakland County Sheriff's Office is currently investigating the incident, according to the police chief.

In the wake of the tragedy, the Oakland County Sheriff's Office issued a statement on Twitter, reminding their followers that, "No Ice Is Safe Ice!"

"This is the second snowmobile to go through the ice in the last two weeks," they wrote. "Temperatures have not been cold enough this season and there are many weak areas on our lakes. Take care when participating in winter activities on any body of water."

Sadly, just two days before the incident occurred, Ellsworth had issued a similar message in a press release, advising people to take caution when going out on the ice.

"You can't always tell the strength of the ice simply by its look, its thickeness, the temperature or whether or not it is covered with snow," he wrote. "Please be careful out there!"

Later in the press release, he noted, "Ice covered by snow always should be presumed unsafe" and that people should "be especially cautious in areas where air temperatures have fluctuated."

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