HIGHLAND TWP. (WWJ) – Authorities say a 30-year-old man and his 4-year-old son are dead after they were pulled from a frigid Oakland County lake.
An Oakland County Sheriff’s Office dive team recovered David and Jackson Lyons from Alderman Lake in Highland Twp. — near Highland and Harvey Lake roads, north of Milford — after they fell through the ice while ice fishing on Monday.
Resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful and both were taken to a local hospital where they were pronounced dead.
Calling the deaths a “tragic accident,” Highland Township Fire Chief Richard Cole said the man and the boy were wearing snow suits and neither was wearing a life jacket.
“Alderman Lake is a very deep lake, but they weren’t far from shore, but when they went through they went through to about five or six feet of water — and the bottom of the lake in that area is nothing but muck,” Cole said.
There were conflicting reports about how long the pair had been in the water — with estimates ranging from three or four minutes to 35.
Cole cautions that no ice should be assumed to be safe — especially when temperatures have been in the 40s and 50s.
“There’s a lot of open water, even when the temperatures are cold,” he said. “And then with the temperature fluctuations that we’re getting, being out on the ice without a life vest or life jacket is not a good thing to do.”
Sheriff Mike Bouchard said, unfortunately, these kinds of things happen throughout the year.
“There’s really not a reason to put your life at risk to fish,” Bouchard told WWJ’s Zahra Huber. “You know, we had literally just finished recovering people from under the ice when an elderly gentleman was going out to ice fish in the same area, and he was advised…probably not a smart or safe thing to do.”
Christopher Greer, a high school friend of David Lyons, stopped by the lake later in the day.
“I wanted to see the spot and basically, I don’t know, just say my goodbyes, really,” Greer said. “He was actually a great father, he cut hair for a living and really looked out for his son…His kid meant the world to him. It’s just heartbreaking.”
Greer said he was surprised that Lyons would venture out onto such thin ice.
“Because the weather’s so nice the last couple days, and he’s kind of a cautious guy and, I mean, he’s a hunter and a fisher,” Greer said. “You think he’d know it’s too warm to go ice fishing.”
This latest incident comes after six cars fell through the ice on Lake St. Clair over the weekend.