DNR temporarily closing Mill Pond as search continues for fourth body after canoeing accident
TOWN OF EAST TROY — Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are temporarily closing Mill Pond — the Lake Beulah area of Sunday’s fatal canoe incident in Walworth County — for the purposes of the ongoing investigation.
The closing of this area – also known as Mill Pond Lake of Lake Beulah will be enforced by the Town of East Troy Police Department.
The DNR and local authorities thank the public for its cooperation in honoring this temporary closure to allow the ongoing investigation to continue.
DNR Warden Jason Roberts also said Thursday, January 7th the dive search resumed for the body of the fourth man involved in this incident.
Three other bodies have been recovered.
“Divers are continuing to focus search efforts near the locations where the other victims were recovered,” Roberts said, adding the equipment being used by emergency personnel includes sonar. “The freezing and thawing of ice has made recovery efforts a challenge. Plus, there is a significant amount of weed coverage off the shoreline area in which recovery efforts are focused.”
Roberts said recovery efforts will continually be evaluated on an hourly and daily basis.
Ice thickness is 1-1.5” thick along and out from shore with some pockets of open water throughout the lake.
The bodies of two victims were recovered Sunday and a third on Monday in this case.
The first two victims have been identified as 20-year-old Lanny Sack and 21-year-old Christopher McQuillen. The third victim has been identified as 21-year-old Mori Weinstein.
All four men are from Illinois.
On Sunday, January 3rd, at approximately 11:15 a.m., Walworth County deputies and the Town of East Troy Police Department responded to a report of four missing adult males from a residence in the area of East Shore Drive and County Highway J near Mill Lake in the Town of East Troy, Walworth County.
The initial investigation led responders to search the waters of Mill Lake which is part of the Lake Beulah chain of lakes. A short time later, responders recovered the bodies of two adult males from the water.
Officials offer these safety tips for anyone planning to enjoy Wisconsin’s natural resources – notably activities around ice or open water — during the winter.
If you do go on the ice:
- Dress warmly in layers.
- Don’t go alone. Head outwith friends or family. Take a cell phone if available, and make sure someone knows where you are and when you are expected to return.
- Know before you go. Don’t travel in areas you are not familiar and don’t travel at night or during reduced visibility.
- Avoid inlets, outlets ornarrow that may have current that can thin the ice.
- Look for clear ice, which is generally stronger than ice with snow on it or bubbles in it.
- Carry some basic safety gear: ice claws or picks, a cellphone in a waterproof bag or case, a lifejacket and length of rope.
- Do not venture out if you have been enjoying alcoholic beverages.
If you go through the ice:
- Wear flotation garments that provide buoyancy – such as a float coat or a life vest or a regular jacket.
- Carry a set of ice awls or picks in your pocket to help you climb out of the ice hole.
- Once out of the ice hole, do not stand up. Rather, walk on your forearms until the majority of your body is on solid surface.
For more tips, the DNR also has information on its website about what to do should you fall through the ice and how to make ice claws.