Sparta boy dies after falling through ice on Perch Lake
Sunday afternoon turned tragic for a Sparta family after a nine-year old boy was pulled from beneath the ice on Perch Lake and later died.
Authorities have yet to release the names of the children involved in the incident, which began with a call to 911 shortly after 3 p.m., reporting that two young boys had fallen through the ice.
The Sparta Police Department was first on the scene and found a 10-year old girl on the shore. Her 12-year old brother was clinging to the ice in open water east of the dam.
According to Sparta Police Deputy Chief Emilee Nottestad, Sparta police officers Chris Welker and Jenna Lee, Wisconsin State Trooper Jake Edwards and Monroe County Sheriff Deputy Ethan Young, tied ropes together and inched their way onto the ice, rescuing the 12-year old.
The boy was transported to the Sparta hospital where he was treated for hypothermia and released. Edwards and Young also were treated for hypothermia.
When Sparta Area Fire District Chief Mike Arnold and his crew arrived on the scene, they immediately launched a rescue boat in an effort to find the child who had gone underwater.
Arnold said he called the Ft. McCoy Fire Department, which arrived shortly after he did. They deployed an underwater camera and located the boy in seven to eight feet of water near where he went through the ice. A diver recovered the boy, who had been submerged for a little over an hour and a half.
Since it was a cold-water drowning, which in some cases allows victims to be resuscitated after long periods underwater, he was taken to the Sparta hospital and med flighted to Rochester. Unfortunately, doctors weren't able to save him and he died at around 1 a.m. Monday morning.
Arnold said rescuers handled the operation well. "Our people did a great job," he said. "But we were hoping for a better outcome."
He also warned people to be cautious on the ice with the warm weather the area has been experiencing, especially around open water where the ice is extremely thin.
"Where they went in was right next to open water," said Arnold.
Also assisting the rescue operation were Sparta Area Ambulance Service and the Monroe County Dispatch Center.