October 24, 2021

Man, 82, dies while ice fishing

Alfred Coon, of Scott, was known for his love of the outdoors, says wife

Image from Google Maps

Skaneatles Lake is shown in this image from Google Maps.

SEMPRONIUS — An 82-year-old Scott man died Monday afternoon when he fell through the ice of Skaneateles Lake near Sempronius.

Alfred Coon was ice fishing on the lake when he fell through the ice and was not able to climb out. State police responded around 3:55 p.m. after receiving a report that Coon had not resurfaced after 20 minutes. Local fire and emergency medical services responded and performed emergency medical procedures, but were unsuccessful. Police said the investigation is ongoing.

Coon loved fishing, hunting and lived out on Skaneateles Lake, his wife said this morning.

“He was always helping other people at the park with launching their boats and stuff,” his wife Nancy Coon said. “We’re going to miss him dearly.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.

The depth of the ice on the southern part of the lake for Monday is unclear, but Rose Thompson, the owner of Rosie’s Taxidermy, a part of Bearwood Bait and Tackle Shop in Skaneateles, said the ice thickness had varied due to warm weather.

“There’s not a whole lot of safe ice to fish on,” she said.

Thompson was unsure about ice depth on the southern end of the lake.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation’s fishing hotline also did not have a ice thickness report.

Mike Crawford, owner of Upstate Guide Service of Sennett, said there was at most 4 inches of ice on the southern part of Skaneateles Lake as of Friday. With subfreezing temperatures and other conditions, it could have been safe. He said the thickness varies across the lake as you move north.

Temperatures reached a high of 55 degrees around the time of the accident, according to the National Weather Service’s website.

Scott Town Supervisor Kevin Finch also said Coon was frequently on the lake.

“He would go out and get stranded boaters,” Finch said. “He was a great man.”

Coon was instrumental in helping the town at the boat launch at Andrew R. Fuller Park, Finch said.

“I was so surprised when I heard,” Finch said. “I was like, ‘Man I hope it’s not someone I know,’ and then this happened. It’s really sad.”

The Department of Environmental Conservation offers a number of ice fishing safety tips. Among those are the thickness of ice and the safety behind it.

• Two inches or less — stay off.
• Four inches — ice fishing or other activities on foot.
• Five inches — snowmobile or ATV.
• Eight to 12 inches — car or small pickup.
• 12 to 15 inches — medium- size truck.