FAIRHAVEN TOWNSHIP, MI – Sunday afternoon, February 4th, 2018, around 2:30pm, the Huron County Sheriff’s office responded to the shoreline community of Rose Island in Fairhaven Township, which was the area where two ice fishermen were missing.
The search had been initiated after it was learned that a local resident who was a friend of one of the missing, had received a voicemail from that victim, which indicated he and another man had broken through the ice and where requesting immediate help.
With the friend searching and the responding Deputies arriving, as well as Airboat #152, they believed scene was located with an ATV and fish shanty in the water about ½ mile west of Rose Island. With no sight of the fishermen and the water being about 4’ deep, two Tuscola Deputies aboard #152 in cold water gear tethered themselves to the airboat and got into the water to walk around in search of the victims, while divers were on their way.
After searching that hole with no luck, they re-boarded the airboat and a search of the surrounding ice was conducted. At approximately 4:30pm, the airboat crew found both victims about 900’ northeast of the original scene, in the water of similar depth deceased.
They were hoisted aboard and transported to shore and then transported to the Scheurer Hospital by the Sebewaing Ambulance Service. There Deputies and a Huron County Medical Examiner’s Office Investigator eventually met with the family members of one of the victims and were also able to learn who the other victim was. Notification of next of kin for that victim then began.
The victims are identified as Dennis W. Shaw, age 73 of Fowlerville and Willard E. Slider, age 69 of Caro.
The preliminary investigation is indicating that this incident may have actually occurred earlier around 9:30am. It appears that the victim who originally called his friend for help was only able to reach the friend’s voicemail and that voicemail didn’t arrive until 2:30pm.
Inclement weather consisting of snow squalls, strong north winds and very cold temperatures were also believed to have played a big part in this tragedy.
The investigation into this incident will continue.
Assisting at the scene were the Caseville Fire Department and the Michigan DNR.
With repeated warnings over the last couple of weeks about unsafe ice already being issued, the Huron County Sheriff’s Office once again remind anglers that the ice conditions are very unpredictable. The thaws that have been experienced this season and refreezes with added snow covering have made for unstable ice. Please do not take the ice for granted just because colder temperatures are once again occurring. The reward is in no way worth the risk.