ONTARIO PROVINCIAL POLICE
At 2 p.m. on Jan. 17, 2021 the Orillia Communication Centre of the Ontario Provincial Police was in receipt of a 911 call from several residents from the east end of Tay Point Road commonly known as Midland Point, stating that a lone snowmobiler had just driven into the open water while travelling on the ice and appeared to be struggling to swim to safety.
Members of the Southern Georgian Bay Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police, Penetanguishene Fire Services and County of Simcoe Paramedic services attended the scene and were able to locate and eventually affect a rescue of the snowmobiler approximately 50m from shore in open water with ice chunks.
Sadly, despite the efforts of numerous emergency services personnel and treatment staff at Georgian Bay General Hospital, William Fournier, 40 years, of Midland passed away from his injuries suffered from the incident.
The investigation continues into the cause of the mishap.
Members of the Southern Georgian Bay OPP want to remind all persons who do venture outdoors that area ice surfaces may be snow covered and appear safe to travel on. Unfortunately, locally we have not had the kind of cold weather required for the formation of ice required for winter activities so if ice travel is necessary please check with local residents and fish hut operators before heading out on any ice surface- Know Before You GO.
Snowmobile operators are advised to check trail conditions prior to heading out and the following internet web sites can provide an insight into those conditions and whether the trails are open or still closed; Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, Mid Ontario Snowmobile Clubs and fishing enthusiasts may wish to view the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) website www.ofah.org/covid19/faq
If you have to travel out onto an ice surface always remember that "No Ice Is Safe Ice" and you need to be aware of current, past weather conditions and recent commercial ice breaking activity along with checking with area residents who have "local knowledge of ice conditions". The following web sites are a must see for those who travel on ice surfaces- Cold Water Boot Camp along with https://twitter.com/OPP_News/status/1342817627077488641 and https://twitter.com/OPPCommissioner/status/1346509378027970564