PROSPECT, Pa. (KDKA/AP) – Emergency crews have recovered the body of a fisherman who fell through the ice on a lake in Butler County.
Butler County 911 was first alerted to the incident around 10 a.m. Monday at Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park, near Route 528.
Members of the Unionville Dive Team recovered the body of the victim, who has been tentatively identified as 71-year-old Pierre Niesen from the Pittsburgh area.
Park manager Dustin Drew said a visitor called 911 to report seeing someone in distress in the lake about 60 yards from an access road, not far from a boat launch. Drew said, “The caller just saw an arm waving.”
“The person who called believed he saw someone who had gone through the ice, waving their arms, in a requesting-for-help type of situation,” said Drew.
When emergency responders got to the lake, there was no sign of the man, so dive teams suited up, and entered the water. Besides the cold water temperatures, conditions in the lake were less than ideal.
“Right now, you have about a foot of visibility, even though it’s icy, and algae blooms,” said Jason Tyger, of the Beaver Falls Dive Team. “We’re still dealing very low visibility in this type of water.”
Officials estimated the water temperature was 35-40 degrees. The man’s body was pulled from about eight feet of water, about three hours after the 911 call for help.
Officials found fishing gear near a hole in the water.
“There was ice fishing gear found nearby. At this point, it’s presumed the man was ice fishing, or attempting to fish. The condition of the ice varies greatly throughout the lake,” said Drew. “I would guess it was three or less inches in this area at the time.”
Lake Arthur is a popular lake for recreation year round. Several vehicles were found not far from where the drowning occurred. Officials believed one of them was owned by the missing fisherman.
The name of the drowning victim was not immediately released.
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