Paul Dillon of Boscawen shared this image of a bob house sinking into Lake Winnipesaukee. (Courtesy photo)
Rob Molino from Windham tends hot dogs on a grill on Alton Bay Sunday. (David Carkhuff/Laconia Daily Sun)
By DAVID CARKHUFF/THE LACONIA DAILY SUN
ALTON — Cautionary tales abounded here on a tragic weekend, when a 15-year-old boy died after he and his father fell through the ice near Rattlesnake Island and two snowmobilers died in a separate snowmobiling accident after plunging into Lake Winnipesaukee near Moultonborough.
On Alton Bay, where the ice was an estimated foot thick, many ice fishing parties reflected on the dangers of venturing onto the lake.
Tim Lambert of Boscawen said his friend plunged through the ice while they were walking side by side on an ice fishing excursion.
A pressure ridge weakened the ice, and a group of friends nearly ran into trouble while hauling their bob house.
"We had another friend of ours who was surveying, he was this close to me," Lambert said, gesturing about a foot away, "and he went right down almost to his waist. He had to go because he was soaked."
Lambert noted that he and "Teddy," their friend, were an arm's length apart.
"He was this close to me. One minute he was there, and the next minute I looked down, and I just grabbed him," Lambert said.
Tony Weddall of Boscawen, another member of the group, said, "The pressure ridge we hit, they said it opened up a week ago. If we had stopped to talk to anybody out here before we went out, they would have told us it was there."
Weddall said the weakness of that section of the ice stunned him.
"It's amazing to see how fast you can drop through the ice," he said.
Paul Dillon, another friend joining the group, explained in a message to The Laconia Daily Sun, "Our friend Teddy fell through the ice. Tim and I are lucky to be alive! In all actuality, my four-wheeler should have sunk and the bob house should have pushed us under."
Dillon wrote that he planned to give his fiancee and kids a big hug when he got home.
Lambert agreed they were lucky. "We came pretty close."
The bob house that broke through the ice only sank partway into the lake, and help was available.
"It's a lucky thing we had two other four wheelers. We just linked them all together, and then another guy down here on his Bobcat came over and helped out and got us all out of there," Lambert recalled.
Dillon said, "Don't be afraid to ask people for help. They'll help you."
After that incident, the group moved their bob house and equipment closer to the entry point, near a snowy roadway where trucks, four wheelers and snowmobiles drove back and forth.
Near another bob house, Rob Molino from Windham was cooking hotdogs in a grill on the ice Sunday.
He was part of a group that comes out every year with trucks and four-wheelers.
"We normally go out off of Governor's Island but it's not frozen," he said.
Asked of his advice, Molino said, "Stay away from open water. Check the ice before you go out on it. Be safe. Check your surroundings. You have to know how thick the ice is. Don't go close to the shore where open bubblers are."
Asked about the tragedy farther out in the bay, he said, "Rattlesnake Island, I know that's by the Broads which aren't locked up."
Paul Dillon, Tim Lambert and other friends from the Boscawen area enjoy their ice fishing spot on Alton Bay Sunday. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)
Pilot Bill Hemmel shared this photo of Lake Winnipesaukee, shot on Feb. 4, illustrating the open water and ice on the lake. (Courtesy Bill Hemmel/Ice-Out.com)
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