Highland Township — The father and son who died after falling into Alderman Lake in Highland Township were inseparable, a relative said Monday.
A man who identified himself as the grandfather of David Michael Lyons, 30, of Highland Township said the man and his 4-year-old son, Jackson Lyons, were ice fishing Monday morning.
“They liked to do things together,” said the man, who did not provide his name. “Ice fishing, riding four wheelers. Anything together.”
The man said he believes the boy first fell through the ice and that his father went in to save him.
According to officials, Lyons and his son were spotted on the lake just after 10:30 a.m. Two fishermen saw the two fall through the ice and didn’t see them resurface.
Two divers from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and two firefighters from Highland Township went out to retrieve them. The two were eventually spotted some 350 feet north of the boat ramp officials use on Alderman Lake.
In less than 10 minutes, the two were pulled to shore. They were placed in separate ambulances for Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital in Commerce Township, where they were declared dead.
Lyons was engaged to the mother of his son, according to the sheriff’s department.
“This is a horrific reminder that we should always hold safety first when we undertake water-related activities,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard said in a statement. “No ice is safe ice especially due to the mild weather we have experienced this winter. Our thoughts are with the family during this unthinkable time.”
According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Alderman Lake is more than 20 feet deep at certain points.
Safety tips on the ice
■Ice should be a minimum of five inches thick for general use by fisherman, ice skaters and foot traffic.
■Ice should be a minimum of eight inches thick for travel by snowmobile and off road vehicles.
■Automobiles should never be driven out on the ice.
■Ice conditions change day by day, lake by lake and location by location on the same body of water.
■Do not go out alone on the ice. Always take a partner or someone who can call 911 or obtain help in an emergency.
■Do not make the first tracks on the ice. Check with someone who has experience with a particular lake or pond before you venture out on the ice.
■Always leave a travel plan with someone who can call for help and direct a search party if you do not return.
■Plan ahead by dressing appropriately for changing weather conditions. Dress in layers to protect all exposed parts of your body. Consider wearing a personal flotation device (PFD), a flotation jacket or suit. Ice creepers attached to boots will help to keep you stable on the ice and can assist in self-rescue.
■Bring safety items which may include: cellphone, whistle, rope, ice pick or awls, screwdriver, hand flares, flashlight, throw-able PFD.
■Check and double check the ice thickness with an ice spud, auger or cordless drill. If you discover a weak spot, retrace your route off the ice. Keep a distance between others in your group.
■If you hear the ice crack or detect unsafe ice you should stay spread out, immediately lie down (which will distribute your weight) and crawl back to safer ice the same way you came.
■If someone falls through the ice, do not run to the hole. First call 911 and get help on the way. After contacting emergency responders, use a pole, branch, rope or any other handy object, which can be extended to the victim from a safe position. You cannot help if you also become a victim.
■If you fall through the ice, do not panic, because this will only hinder your self-rescue actions. Call out for help and kick your feet while getting your hands and arms up onto safer ice. This is when the ice awl or screwdriver will help you with your self-rescue. Continue to “swim” up onto the ice far enough to crawl or “roll-out” to safer ice.
■Snowmobiles, ORVs and vehicles on the ice increase your risk of falling through, especially at night.
■Pets that venture onto unsafe ice are another major cause for many near drownings and deaths. Stay at a safe position on shore and persuade them back to safety.
Source: Oakland County Sheriff’s Office