Some absolutely heartbreaking news coming out of Vermont.
According to NBC News, an annual ice fishing tournament held on Vermont’s Lake Champlain was canceled after three men died after falling through the ice during “abnormally warm” weather.
Organizers of the 43rd annual Islands Ice Fishing Derby made the announcement via Facebook on Saturday morning, saying that the event was cancelled due to “the condition of the ice.”
It was cancelled after the Grand Isle County Sheriff’s Department requested that the event be canceled “effective immediately,” and they asked fishermen already out on the ice to clear the area.
One of the victims was 62-year-old Wayne Alexander of Grand Isle, a veteran ice fisherman who fell through the ice on Lake Champlain while ice fishing.
His body was discovered in the water hours after he was expected back home, and was pronounced dead at the University of Vermont Medical Center.
And on early Saturday morning, two brothers passed away after falling through the ice after utility vehicle broke through the ice.
71-year-old John Fleury of Williamstown was pulled from the water, but later died in a hospital. 88-year-old Wayne Fleury of East Montpelier was found inside the vehicle by a diver from Colchester Technical Rescue. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
State police said that autopsies would be performed at the chief medical examiner’s office in nearby Burlington. They added that all of these deaths appear to be accidents.
None of the men were involved in the tournament.
The National Weather Service in Burlington said in a Facebook post Saturday that the thickness of the ice would be highly variable due to “well above normal temperatures” in the area the past couple of months:
“Ice is never 100% safe. If you don’t know, don’t go! Stay safe”
Organizers of the event also warned people to not drive motor vehicles of any kind on the ice.