1 of 2 men who fell through ice on Saginaw Bay called friend for help

Published: Feb. 5, 2018 at 8:38 AM EST
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(02-05-18) - Deputies say one of two fishermen killed in Saginaw Bay called a friend for help.

The Huron County Sheriff's Office believes the two victims and their ATV fell through the ice around 9:30 a.m. Sunday about a half mile west of Rose Island.

They were identified Monday as 73-year-old Dennis W. Shaw of Fowlerville and 69-year-old Willard E. Slider of Caro.

Investigators say one of the men left a voicemail for a friend who was fishing in the area, asking for immediate help. But the message wasn't delivered to the cell phone until 2:30 p.m.

The friend immediately called 911 after receiving the message. Deputies from the Huron County and Tuscola County sheriff's offices used an airboat to search for Shaw and Slider with help from other fishermen.

Rescuers found an ATV and ice shanty in a large hole in the ice over about four feet of water. Deputies wearing cold water gear entered the water to look for Shaw and Slider, but their bodies were not found.

Rescuers continued searching until they found another hole in the ice about 900 feet away. Shaw's and Slider's bodies were located there in about four feet of water.

Both bodies were loaded onto the airboat and transported to shore, where a waiting ambulance took them to Scheurer Hospital. Family members of one of the men met police at the hospital and positively identified Shaw and Slider.

The Huron County Sheriff's Office says snow squalls, strong north winds and very cold temperatures hampered the search and rescue effort.

The sheriff's office continues to issue warnings about how unsafe and unpredictable the ice is right now. The ice cover is unstable after a few thaws and refreezes.

"Please do not take the ice for granted just because colder temperatures are once again occurring," Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson said. "The reward is in no way worth the risk."