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Posted on Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 11:45 a.m.

Ice fisherman from Saline declared dead after being pulled from water

By Cindy Heflin

A Saline man who had been ice fishing in Lenawee County was pronounced dead after being pulled from the water Thursday, MLive reported.

Michael James Shofstall, 62, was taken to Allegiance Health in Jackson, but efforts to resuscitate him were not successful, according to a statement from the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Office.

Another fisherman, Gerald Lee Smith, 62, of Grass Lake, was in guarded condition after a helicopter took him to a Toledo hospital, the sheriff’s office reported.

A 911 call about people yelling for help at Timber Lake came in at 11:44 a.m., MLive reported. The lake is west of Wamplers Lake in the northern part of Lenawee County.



Sat, Jan 5, 2013 : 4:42 a.m.

@ GoNavy, re: " to cover the risk of these events. The risk-taking of a few should not be borne by all of society." Uhhh... Sorry. That's what insurance is! And the premiums people pay most often do not cover the cost of rescue/retrieval on the event of their injury/death. That's why we buy into the insurance pool, and that's why we pay taxes to cover the costs of our first responders, etc. Sometimes accidents result from things like lightning bolts, sometimes they are the result of careless mistakes, etc. But they still are accidents, and the people we pay our taxes, and our insurance premiums to, pick up the costs in the end. As they should. Or do we propose to just leave those poor guys floating out in the lake? In that case, walk your talk, and never pay taxes, and never buy insurance of any kind –– Marlboro Men Forever!


Sat, Jan 5, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.

hmsp - Your commentary suggests that these fishermen *already* carry insurance - which is what my comments suggested they do. Your commentary is also ludicrous. Note that I suggested "catastrophic-level" insurance: That's code for insurance whose premiums are sufficient across the insured pool to cover the cost of rescue/retrieval from the water. Those premiums should be paid by those in the risk pool - that is, the pool of fisherman - not all of society. Just as with auto insurance, whose risk pool consists of all drivers - not all of society. You surely wouldn't want to pay auto insurance premiums to cover my driving risk if you weren't a driver yourself, would you? Re, your final comments: I have no idea what you're talking about. Marlboro Man?


Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 10:57 p.m.

While I'm sorry to hear about this, as a Michigan resident and as an individual who grew up on the Great Lakes, we've seen this happen far too often. Between diving for fishermen who have fallen through the ice, sending the Coast Guard out for stranded fishermen, and airlifting other distressed fishermen, the burden on the taxpayers of this state continues. I move that all recreational fishermen - if not already licensed by the state - submit to licensing which requires proof of catastrophic-level insurance to cover the risk of these events. The risk-taking of a few should not be borne by all of society.


Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 10:17 p.m.

There seems to be a LOT of this every year. People get stuck on ice drifts in Lake St Clair, or falling through the ice and it endangers the lives of those who must rescue the, and is a huge expense. People need to realize that lakes and other bodies of water do not freeze over very rapidly. It takes a prolonged deep freeze for it to be safe to ice fish. If there is even a slight doubt, do not go out to ice fish, snow mobile or walk on ice.


Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 8:03 p.m.

We were by Lake St. Clair on Monday and there was a lot of visible open water. The lakes are not yet safe!

Bear Fighter

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 7:08 p.m.

Was this related to thin ice?


Sat, Jan 5, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

Of course it was related to thin ice. I must be atleast 4 inches think to support us safely ( per DNR) 6 top 8 to support a car like they do up northThis ice was only 2 inches thich according to the story!!


Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 6:48 p.m.

I think a lot of folks are anxious to get out on the ice, especially because of the lack of it last year. Please be patient and wait until you're sure it will hold you and all of your stuff.


Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 5:32 p.m.

I'm so sorry to hear this. What a terrible way to die. I'll be thinking about his friend and loved ones. I would have thought the ice would be thicker with all of the cold weather we have had, but currents can make a difference.