Man dies after falling through lake ice in Merritt area | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Man dies after falling through lake ice in Merritt area

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March 05, 2020 - 1:52 PM

A 55-year-old Nicola Valley resident has died after falling through lake ice near his property at Nicola Bay early Saturday afternoon.

Staff Sgt. Lorne Wood with Merritt RCMP says the man is a resident of the small community halfway down Nicola Lake.

“He was going out to check some fishing lines he had set on the lake. He went out on the ice, his neighbour saw him fall through, and he tried to help to get him out of the water but he wasn’t able to,” Wood says.

He says the ice was “rotten” as the temperatures warmed, which caused a honeycomb-like effect.

“The ice was quite thin… a couple of inches of ice is no problem to stand on, but when it honeycombs like that it gets really, really weak.”

Wood says the area has seen warmer than usual weather, which may have contributed to the accident.

He warns others who are planning to go ice fishing to drill holes to test the thickness and to have a friend and tools to help in such a situation.

“Out here in Merritt and the Nicola Valley, it’s a lot warmer than it has been in past winters and the ice is coming off a lot faster than it normally does, especially the bigger bodies of water," Wood says.

"Some of the smaller lakes up higher might still be good, but I’d say if people are going out ice fishing to have some ice picks or something to get them back up on the ice if they go through.”

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