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Hypothermia takes Kamiah men who fell through ice

WINCHESTER – Two Kamiah fishermen died from hypothermia last week after falling through the ice at Winchester Lake.

David Kries, 79, and Roger Ward, 73, were flown to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston last Friday, Feb. 6, where they were pronounced deceased.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch received a report around 11:26 a.m. that an individual had fallen through the ice, and as the rescue progressed a second person was discovered in the water. Two LifeFlight helicopters were dispatched to the location, along with multiple county and state emergency service responders.

“The ice was so thin it was almost transparent and the thin ice made rescue efforts extremely difficult,” according to Lewis County Sheriff Brian Brokop. According to Roger Ward’s wife they had both been ice fishing at Winchester Lake on Monday, Feb. 2, and had no problems.

“The men fell through out in the center of the lake. The ice may have been OK a few days ago but the quick change with warmer weather made it extremely dangerous,” he said. “I am asking everyone to please stay off the ice on the lake.”

“I knew both of these men and they were avid fishermen,” said Brokop. “This is a tragedy and our heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to the wives and families.”

Responders to the incident included the Winchester QRU, LCSO, rangers from Winchester State Park, Winchester Rural Fire District, a Nez Perce Tribal Officer, Nezperce Ambulance, Lewiston Fire Department with ice rescue equipment, St. Mary’s Hospital Ambulance, Nez Perce County Search and Rescue, Lewis County Search and Rescue, Nez Perce County Sheriff’s Office, two Idaho State Police troopers and two Lewiston Fire Department ambulances.


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