88-Year-Old Grandfather Drowns In Frozen Lake 

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On a cold Friday evening in Hancock County, Maine, a leisurely ice fishing trip turned fatal for an 88-year-old grandfather.

Floyd Hardison from Waltham, Maine, drowned following an ice fishing excursion with his son and two grandsons on Hancock County’s Spring River Lake. The tragic incident occurred on Friday, February 9, 2024. 

After concluding their fishing activities and gathering equipment, Hardison, his son, and his grandsons returned to where their vehicles were parked around 6 p.m.  

During the trip back to the parking spot, the all-terrain vehicle (ATV) that Hardison was traveling in, driven by his adult grandson, broke through the ice and plunged into the chilly water about 400 feet from shore. 

The grandson broke free and surfaced, but Hardison could not extricate himself from the submerged ATV.

Emergency response teams were dispatched to the scene, including Maine Game Wardens, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, and the Franklin and Sullivan fire departments. 

Hardison’s body was later recovered from 10-foot-deep waters at about 8:25 p.m., having sunk to the bottom of the lake alongside the submerged ATV.

Due to the incident, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and local safety officials warned about the unpredictable nature of ice thickness, especially given the recent fluctuations in winter temperatures. 

They have advised everyone to ensure that there are at least four to six inches of solid ice before venturing onto frozen lakes and ponds, a precaution to prevent similar tragedies.

In a separate incident on January 26, 2023, the town manager of Carmel and his four-year-old son fell through the ice on Etna Pond in Penobscot County. The child was saved, but the town manager drowned. 

Additionally, five people, including three children, were rescued from Moose Pond in Denmark, Maine after their ATV fell through the ice.

Floyd Hardison is remembered as a beloved man who made a lasting impact on his family and community. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and blueberry raking. His dedication extended beyond his personal pursuits, as he served as a Little League coach and umpire in Waltham for many years. He was actively involved in the community, attending school events and graduations and supporting his grandchildren’s sports activities. 

Floyd was also strongly committed to service, being a member of Lygonia Lodge for 67 years and actively participating in the Anah Temple Shrine Flag Unit for 49 years, proudly wearing the Shriner fez and participating in parades. 

He leaves behind his wife of 67 years, Norma, five children, 18 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be held on Monday, February 19.

The Sullivan Fire Department, one of the first responder units at the scene of Hardison’s accident, extended their condolences to his family and urged everyone to exercise extreme caution when traveling across frozen bodies of water.   

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