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FISHING

How did three fishermen die on Lake Champlain in Vermont?

With weather conditions having led to tragedy, the fishing tournament won’t be staged this year, as authorities try to make sense of what happened and why.

Update:
With weather conditions having led to tragedy, the fishing tournament won’t be staged this year, as authorities try to make sense of what happened and why.
YASUYOSHI CHIBAGetty

Following three separate incidents, Vermont’s community has been left both saddened and shocked at the news of the untimely deaths of three different people. The situation has seen their annual fishing competition brought to halt, leaving behind a chilling reminder that frozen lakes are never as safe as they may appear.

Islands Ice Fishing Derby cancelled after three deaths

According to recent reports, the annual Islands Ice Fishing Derby in Vermont has been cancelled and tickets will now be refunded, after two separate incidents claimed the lives of three fishermen, who fell through the ice on Lake Champlain. Set to stage it’s 43rd edition, the derby is a yearly event that raises money as part of a conversation effort to preserve the lake and its surrounding environment.

ICE FISHING DERBY CANCELED! The Grand Isle County Sheriff’s Department has issued a request for the Islands Ice Fishing...

Posted by Islands Ice Fishing Derby on Saturday, February 11, 2023

What happened to the three men who died at Lake Chaplain?

Where the three men in question are concerned, it is understood that on February 9th, 62-year-old Wayne Alexander left his home just before noon and was expected to return six hours later. As per the police report, when Alexander did not return at the appointed time, a concerned relative set out to look for him at which point his truck was discovered, parked in the fishing access at Grand Isle State Park. Sadly, emergency personnel would later locate his body in the water wearing a floatation suit at approximately 9:30 p.m. Alexander was then taken to the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) where he was pronounced dead.

Regarding the other two individuals, the incident occurred some 48-hours later, when two brothers died after their utility vehicle broke through the ice. As per reports, emergency crews were notified about the situation at about 7:10 a.m. Indeed, one of the men, 71-year-old John Fleury, was even pulled from the water and brought to shore by the South Hero Fire Department where he received medical attention and was then taken to the UVMMC. Unfortunately, Fleury did not survive. As for his 88-year-old brother, Wayne, he was still inside the UTV and was later located by a diver from Colchester Technical Rescue. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Vermont police want the public to remain vigilant

In the wake of the tragedy, Police have been advising the public to stay off the ice on Lake Champlain during the weekend due to ice conditions that are less than certain. To that end, the National Weather Service Burlington in Vermont also warned people to be extremely careful. “Due to well above normal temperatures that the region has experienced over the past 2 months, ice thickness on area lakes and ponds is highly variable,” read their post. “Ice is never 100% safe. If you don’t know, don’t go! Stay safe.”