Man Dies, Brother Survives After Both Plunge into Icy Pond

One man died and his brother survived after the two of them plunged into an icy pond in upstate New York when they were fishing on Jan. 6.

In a news release by New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation, a passerby walking his dog contacted authorities after he noticed the two ice fishermen falling through the ice on Basswood Pond in the town of Burlington in Ostego County.  

Forest ranger Nate Lymon immediately arrived at the scene, according to DEC, and saw one of the men treading water but not the other person. 

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“The Ranger entered the ice, crawled toward the 42-year-old from Richfield Springs, and used a throw bag to help the subject out of the water. The subject grabbed the rope and Ranger Laymon pulled him onto a sled,” per the DEC’s statement. 

The ranger pulled the sled to shore where he was met by emergency responders who treated the man suffering from hypothermia. The ranger returned to the ice to locate the second person, the man’s brother, 41, who was later found in 7 to 8 feet of water. Emergency responders pulled the ranger and the submerged man out of the pond to shore. 

“At 3:23 p.m., the subject was transferred to EMTs who began CPR,” continued DEC’s statement following the rescue. “Both subjects were taken to the hospital. The first was treated and released. The second subject was declared deceased by the hospital later that night.”

The department said that the ice at the time was about one inch thick and “unsafe for fishing.” In a section about safety while ice fishing on its website, the DEC said: “ A minimum of three to four inches of solid ice is the general rule for safety. Ice thickness, however, is not uniform on any body of water…Since ice thickness can vary on a lake, check the ice periodically to stay safe.”

The incident in upstate New York occurred a day after two brothers, aged 6 and 8, fell through the ice of a retention pond in Wisconsin and later died, Sun Prairie Police Department Assistant Chief Shunta Boston confirmed to PEOPLE.

“This is a tragedy that is one of those things that’s very important that we do report out to our public to keep them informed,” Boston said.

The brothers were taken to a hospital in critical condition. The older boy died on Jan. 6 and the younger one died on Jan. 8, Boston said.

In a press release, the Sun Prairie Police Department said: “We express our deepest condolences to the families and friends significantly impacted by this loss.” 

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