OPP divers pull bodies of father and son from Sturgeon Bay
BARRIE, ONT. -- Provincial police identified the two men who died after plunging into the icy waters of Sturgeon Bay near Victoria Harbour.
Divers pulled the bodies of 49-year-old Jereld Bremner and 19-year-old Donald Bremner, a father and son, after a massive search for the two missing snowmobilers on Monday morning.
The initial search began Sunday evening after residents reported hearing screams for help coming from the water near Robins Point Road and Osborne Street.
Crews were forced to call off their efforts Sunday after it got too dark and ice conditions became "treacherous," according to the OPP.
Meanwhile, another snowmobiler was killed after police say he also went through the ice, this time in Penetanguishene Harbour on Sunday.
Police say two boys saw the man go through the ice and ran to the nearest house, where the resident called 911.
Crews found 40-year-old William Fournier of Midland about 50 metres from shore in open water off Midland Point and pulled him out.
Crews, including police, firefighters, and Simcoe County paramedics, attempted extraordinary lifesaving efforts, but after being taken to a local hospital, Fournier was pronounced dead.
"In both cases, the snowmobile riders drove into open water. It's not a fact that no ice is safe ice. It's literally the fact there is no ice, folks, for you to drive on," said OPP Const. David Hobson.
Monday marked the start of snowmobile safety week.
These deadly incidents prompted the OPP to warn snowmobilers to keep off frozen waterways, while the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) urges riders to stay off closed OFSC trails.
According to the OPP, six people have died in snowmobile incidents this season.
Chief Superintendent Rohan Thompson says about 40 per cent of OPP-investigated snowmobile deaths have involved lakes and rivers over the past 10 years. "These latest incidents are a tragic reminder of the serious risks associated with snowmobiling on frozen waterways.
Excessive speed, driving too fast for the conditions and alcohol/drugs are other top contributing factors in snowmobile deaths. Our data speaks loud and clear about the behaviours and unsafe riding conditions snowmobilers need to avoid to make it through the season safely," he adds.