Man drowns in Putnam County lake after off-road vehicle goes through ice, into water

PUTNAM COUNTY, Ind. – A man drowned in Putnam County’s Heritage Lake after the off-road vehicle (ORV) he was riding went through a layer of ice and into the water.

Conservation Officer Lt. Angela Goldman says Brett Crowder, 48, of Coatsville was pronounced dead at the scene after his body was pulled from the lake at about 6 p.m. Saturday.

"Divers were able to locate Crowder in approximately 30 feet of water," Goldman said.

Another ORV also went through the ice, but authorities say the driver of that vehicle was able to get out of the water and was treated for minor injuries.

Goldman says it’s not uncommon to ride ORVs on frozen bodies of water, but it’s considered safe when the ice is about 5 to 6 inches thick. She said it appears the ice on the lake was approximately 2 inches thick.

"Warmer temperatures forecasted for the state this week will make for unsafe ice in many locations," Goldman said.

First responders from across central Indiana responded to the scene to help with the water rescue. None of the officers were injured during the recovery.

They  were hoping for a better outcome. Lt. Goldman says it was difficult breaking the news to his family.

"We do what we do to provide closure to the family in situations like this," Goldman said. "It is never easy. It is never easy to the family that their loved one had drowned."

She wants people to remember that no ice is safe ice.


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