UPDATE 1/22/2019 9:05 am
The Fond Du Lac County Sheriff’s Office has released the name of the man who died after his ATV fell through the ice on Lake Winnebago. He is identified as Peter Zacherl from Fond Du Lac.
The other drivers of the ATVs are identified as 23-year-old Daniel Zacherl, 22-year-old Sabrina Butler, and 69-year-old Maurice Plummer.
The Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office believes the group had come across a pressure crack in the ice that caused about a half mile of it to thin down to just a couple of inches.
“Lake Winnebago is a very dangerous lake because it’s very expansive, the wind can shift the ice around and actually make pressure cracks, which from time to time can open up,” Captain William Tadych of the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office said. “And that’s what occurred over the last few days, the area probably about a half a mile long by at least several hundred yards wide that had opened up a couple days ago, the cold temperatures caused it to freeze over so there was approximately one to two inches of ice covering that area.”
ORIGINAL STORY: 1/22/2019 5:37 am
A 55-year-old man from Fond du Lac is dead after his ATV fell through the ice on Lake Winnebago Monday night.
The Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office says they received a call around 9:27 p.m. that two ATVs had fallen through the ice. The caller was traveling as part of a group, and said they were in an area off the Fond du Lac River towards the west side of the lake. The caller said three people were in the water.
Multiple agencies arrived on scene and a rescue operation was then initiated.
The sheriff’s office says that the 55-year-old man was driving an ATV, and a 23-year-old Fond du Lac man was also driving one with a 22-year-old female passenger from Brownsville. There was also a 69-year-old Fond du Lac man who was driving a UTV.
According to a press release, the group was traveling in a line when the 55-year-old man went through the ice. The 23-year-old man was then unable to stop, and both he and his female passenger went into the water as well. The 69-year-old man was able to stop and did not go through the ice.
The 23-year-old man was able to get the 22-year-old female out of the water. He then tried to get the 55-year-old man out of the water but was not able to. He stayed in the water trying to help until emergency responders were able to get him. That’s when responders were able to get both men out.
The sheriff’s office says the 55-year-old was under water for a period of time and was unconcious and unresponsive when he was pulled from the water. He was transported by ambulance to St. Agnes Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The other man and female were also transported to the hospital where they were treated and released.
The sheriff’s office says none of the people involved were wearing PFDs (Person Flotation Device), or had any other self-rescue equipment. Their names are not being released at this time. The incident remains under investigation by the FDL County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin DNR.
The sheriff’s office says the area where the accident happened had about 1-2 inches of ice, and there was also a crack in the ice around the area. They urge the public to use extreme caution when traveling on any frozen body of water.