Deadly Ice

Three ice fishermen dead since Thursday, derby cancelled, authorities urge staying off ice

State police say that John Fleury, 71, of Williamstown, and his brother, Wayne Fleury, 88, of East Montpelier both died after the side-by-side UTV they were riding in fell through the ice in Lake Champlain off the east shore of Grand Isle County. 

Their deaths follow the death of an ice fisherman who went through the ice off Grand Isle State Park on Thursday. Authorities are warning people to stay off the ice, and the Island Fishing Derby scheduled for this past weekend was postponed. 

Police say that at about 7:10 a.m. Saturday an enclosed side-by-side UTV carrying the Fleury brothers was operating on Keeler Bay when the vehicle broke through the ice. John Fleury was pulled from the water and taken by ambulance to UVMMC. But William Fleury was found inside the UTV by a Colchester rescue diver and pronounced dead at the scene.

Wayne Alexander, 62, died after plunging into icy waters off Grand Isle State Park Thursday (Minor Funeral Home photo)

First responders reported encountering difficult ice conditions on Keeler Bay, The Department of Fish and Wildlife is advising the public to stay off the ice on Lake Champlain due to unsafe conditions.

Also, State Police Friday said an ice fisherman died after falling through the ice Thursday, Feb. 9 on Lake Champlain in Grand Isle. Wayne Alexander, 62, from Grand Isle, was pronounced dead at the University of Vermont Medical Center, police say.

Alexander was located after a search Thursday night and brought by ambulance to UVMMC.

State police learned that he left his home to go ice fishing shortly before noon Thursday. When he failed to return as expected by around 6 p.m., a relative went to look for him and found his truck parked in the fishing access at Grand Isle State Park at about 8:30 p.m. and called emergency crews.

They found him in the water at about 9:30 p.m. He was wearing a flotation suit. Crews brought him to shore, and he was then taken to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Categories: Outdoors

5 replies »

  1. It’s tragic, and unthinkable. Sportsmen brothers are out ice fishing, and….

  2. Tragic. The lake doesn’t generally freeze over the way it did just decades ago. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. RIP, guys.

  3. It’s also been a relatively mild winter plus the weather has been so erratic with a lot of warm spells so that probably doesn’t help with ice formation. I suspect some of the old-timers are just used to going out there and don’t realize the weather has changed.