According to the mayor of the community he lived in, the 63-year-old man who drowned in Drummers Pond near Dunville Tuesday was an experienced hunter who was well acquainted with ice fishing.
"Why that morning he had to try and take a short cut across the pond, we'll never know," said Fox Harbour Mayor John Maher, who was among those at the scene of the incident Tuesday morning once word spread of what had happened.
The man's body was recovered from the pond Tuesday morning by volunteer firefighters from the Placentia and Fox Harbour departments.
Placentia RCMP were notified at 8:15 Tuesday, March 27 that a fisherman had gone through the ice of Drummer’s Pond, near Fox Harbour.
Police say the 63-year old man went out onto the iced over pond at 7 a.m. Another man fishing on the same pond had seen him walk out towards the centre of the pond, and witnessed him slip right through the ice. The man tried to help but couldn’t get close enough because of the lack of thick ice.
According to Maher, the man was fishing for trout when he fell through ice on the pond.
The other man had told him not to cross the pond since it had rained the night before. There was slush on the ice.
"Next thing, he heard the scream that (the 63-year-old) was in the water," said Maher.
After determining there was no way he could reach him, Maher said the other man made a dash for Fox Harbour Road, as there was no cellular phone service from the pond. He managed to find a woman driving along the road with a phone. She travelled further up the road before finding a signal to alert authorities.
"It was a tragedy for Fox Harbour, I know that," said Maher. "There wasn't much of a chance for saving the poor man, and that's the tragic thing about it.”
The Placentia Volunteer Fire Department, the Fox Harbour Volunteer Fire Department, Power’s Ambulance and the Placentia RCMP were on hand later in the morning to help search for the man.
At 9:45 a.m. the man’s body was recovered from the water and transported to Placentia hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The RCMP has not released the name of the deceased man.
The volunteer firefighters used boats to get across the thin ice to the man, and all returned safely.
Police in the area are advising residents to take ice conditions into account when thinking of going ice fishing, especially this time of year. This year, with warmer than normal temperatures, the ice is thin on most ponds. If people are unsure of the thickness of the ice, police advise them to avoid it.