Dr. Norman Yan and Dr. Shakira Azan stand with the banner promoting lake health during a talk at the Stanhope Firefighters' Community Hall on May 26. /JENN WATT Staff

Highlands East man dies aftersnowmobile goes through ice

By Angelica Ingram

A 53-year-old man from Highlands East died after the snowmobile he was on went through the ice Friday night.

Thomas Rivers was recovered by the Ontario Provincial Police Underwater Search and Recovery Unit at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 30 in Dark Lake in Highlands East.

According to the Haliburton Highlands OPP Rivers was travelling with three other people on two separate snowmobiles when the machines broke through the ice at 11:39 p.m. on Friday Jan. 29.

“Officers attended the scene with members of the Highlands East Fire Department and located three of the four snowmobilers who went through the ice” a news release from the OPP reads.

According to Const. Dianna Dauphinee of the Haliburton Highlands detachment the other three individuals managed to pull themselves out of the lake prior to police arriving on the scene.

When the USRU located and recovered Rivers on Jan. 30 he was deceased.

OPP say the investigation is ongoing.

Dauphinee told the Echo she could not speak to whether the snowmobilers had been consuming alcohol before heading out on Friday night.

When the news of Rivers’ death made its way through the community messages of grief began pouring in on social media.

On the Echo’s Facebook page Daryl Sands wrote “Olivia Sands Tom was the nice gentleman who came to help you out when ‘Bluebaru’ wouldn’t start for you” referring to his daughter.

Yvonne Le Page wrote that Rivers would be missed by many.

Many organizations are reminding recreation enthusiasts to stay off the ice as milder temperatures this winter has left ice conditions unpredictable and thinner than usual.