A Milford man died Friday morning after falling through the ice in Northern Penobscot County.

Have Officials Identified the Deceased?

Walter Demmons, 62, of Milford drowned while his friend was able to get out of the water.

Where Did This Happen?

Mark Latti with the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife says the two men were getting ready to ice fish on Quakish Lake Friday morning. They were drilling holes through the ice to test the thickness when they heard the ice crack. The two ice fishermen spread out in an attempt to not break through, but the ice broke anyway, sending them both into the water about 75 yards from shore.

Quakish Lake is in T3 Indian Purchase Township, which is about 12 minutes southwest of Millinocket.

Demmons and his friend were communicating with each other as they tried to get out of the water and back onto the ice. Suddenly, Demmons said he wasn't going to make it and his friend saw him submerge beneath the water's surface. He never came back up. Once the friend was able to get himself back up on the ice, he called 911.

Several agencies responded to the incident, including the Maine Warden Service, as well as Fire Department personnel from Millinocket and Brownville. They used an ice rescue raft to recover Demmons from the water. His friend, whose name has not been released, was transported to Millinocket Regional Hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia.

What Can Fishermen Do To Protect Themselves?

Wardens are urging everyone to use cation when venturing out onto the ice. Conditions should be checked frequently, especially now because conditions can be treacherous this early in the season. More safety tips can be found on the website for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. 

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