Three fishermen die in one week after falling through ice in Vermont amid warmer weather, officials say


(BURLINGTON, Vt.) — Authorities in Vermont are warning ice fishers to stay off the ice of a lake after three people died after falling into the lake last week.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department told people on Tuesday not to go on the ice at Lake Champlain while the area experiences warm weather.

According to the U.S. National Weather Service Burlington, the area has experienced temperatures between 7 degrees to 15 degrees above normal in the past week, saying Tuesday that it’s been an “abnormally warm” February so far.

According to Vermont State Police, 62-year-old Wayne Alexander died on Thursday after falling through Lake Champlain’s ice.

Officials found Alexander in the lake around 9:30 p.m. that night, where he was wearing a flotation device.

He was pronounced dead at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, police said.

According to law enforcement officials, two brothers, John Fleury, 71, and Wayne Fleury, 88, were killed after their utility task vehicle (UTV) broke through the ice on Lake Champlain on Saturday.

John Fleury was retrieved from the ice by the South Hero Fire Department and was sent to the University of Vermont Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Wayne Fleury was found by a driver from Colchester Technical Rescue and was pronounced dead on the scene, according to Vermont State Police.

In a Facebook post, organizers of the 43rd annual Islands Ice Fishing Derby canceled the event “effective immediately” on Saturday at the urging of the local sheriff’s department because of the conditions of the ice at Lake Champlain.

Islands Ice Fishing Derby holds the competition on Lake Champlain and warned participants in a Facebook post on Friday that they shouldn’t fish alone or drive any type of motor vehicle on the ice.

The area near Lake Champlain, which is located between New York and Vermont, has experienced warmer temperatures in recent weeks, according to the NWS Burlington.

Montpelier and St. Johnsbury recently recorded their warmest January on record, according to NWS Burlington.

On Saturday, NWS said that ice thickness on the lakes and ponds in the area are varied because of the “well above normal temperatures” and that it wasn’t absolutely safe.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.