2 Vermont Brothers Dead After Falling Through Ice on Lake Champlain

Vermont State Police identified the victims on Sunday as brothers, 71-year-old John Fleury, of Williamstown, and 88-year-old Wayne Fleury, of East Montpelier

Fish biologist Shawn Good/Vermont Fish & Wildlife Facebook

Two men have died after their utility vehicle broke through the ice on Lake Champlain in South Hero, Vermont, early Saturday morning.

Vermont State Police confirmed they were investigating after emergency crews received a report around 7:10 a.m. that an enclosed side-by-side UTV was out on Keller Bay when the vehicle fell through the ice. First responders learned that two ice fishermen had been in the UTV and were able to pull one man from the water, while the other was located by a diver.

Police identified the victims on Sunday as brothers, 71-year-old John Fleury of Williamstown, and 88-year-old Wayne Fleury of East Montpelier.

According to state police, the South Hero Fire Department pulled John Fleury from the water and brought him to shore for emergency medical care. He was rushed to the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington where he later died from his injuries.

A diver from Colchester Technical Rescue found the second fisherman, Wayne Fleury, inside the submerged UTV. He was pronounced dead on scene.

The incident comes less than 48 hours after another fisherman died after falling through the ice Thursday on Lake Champlain in Grand Isle. The three deaths prompted officials to call off the 43rd annual Islands Ice Fishing Derby, NBC News reported.

State police said 62-year-old Wayne Alexander left his home shortly before noon Thursday to go ice fishing and never came back. When he failed to return as expected by 6 p.m., a relative went to look for him and called emergency crews after finding his truck parked in the fishing access at Grand Isle State Park around 8:30 p.m.

Several agencies responded to conduct a search, and emergency crews found Alexander in the water around 9:30 p.m. He was wearing a flotation suit, state police said.

He was brought to shore and then taken to University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington where he ied from his injuries.

Following the Fleury brothers' deaths Saturday, the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife released an ice safety advisory advising the public to stay off the ice on Lake Champlain this weekend due to unsafe conditions.

"Ice conditions on Lake Champlain are not safe for recreation. Do not go onto the ice on Lake Champlain this weekend," the advisory read. "On inland waters, use caution and exercise situational awareness. Check the ice as you go. Leave vehicles on shore."

The National Weather Service Burlington also shared a Facebook post on Saturday advising that ice thickness on area lakes and ponds is "highly variable" due to "well above normal temperatures" in the region over the past two months.

"Ice is never 100% safe," the post read. "If you don't know, don't go! Stay safe."

New England saw record warmth -- upper 50s and low 60s -- on Friday, with high temperature records set in several places including Worcester, Massachusetts, Providence, Rhode Island, and Hartford, Connecticut.

State police said emergency crews encountered difficult conditions on Keeler Bay on Saturday due to the condition of the ice. Multiple agencies responded for the ice rescue, including the Grand Isle Sheriff's Department, state police, Colchester Technical Rescue, the fish and wildlife department, Milton and South Hero rescue squads, and fire departments from Alburgh, Grand Isle, Isle La Motte, North Hero and South Hero.

Autopsies on the Fleury brothers, as well as Alexander, will be conducted by the chief medical examiner's office in Burlington to determine the cause and manner of their deaths. State police say both incidents appear to be accidents and are not considered suspicious at this time. Investigations remain ongoing.

Contact Us