Prince William Co. police say man dead after falling through frozen pond

A man has died after falling through ice in a Virginia pond on Saturday night.

It happened at a golf club near Erinblair Loop and Piedmont Vista Drive in Haymarket, Virginia, around 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Prince William County police told WTOP.

Several people at the Piedmont Club Golf Course attempted to rescue a 19-year-old man who fell through the ice in a pond, police said. The man was transported to a hospital in cardiac arrest. He later died, police told WTOP.

Prince William County Fire Marshall Matt Smolsky has warned residents to stay off all local ice, even if it looks solid.

Storm Team4 meteorologist Chad Merrill told WTOP that the DMV rarely produces ice that is safe for outdoor recreation, and according to Prince William County Fire and Rescue, standing on local ice is riskier than in northern climates.

“People will get a false sense that the ice is thick enough but, no,” Merrill said. “We need a longer, more extended period of cold weather.”

Ice that forms where water levels change frequently, or where the water is moving, such as stormwater ponds, rivers and streams is especially dangerous, the fire department said, because its thickness will vary with the conditions and may contain cracks.  

The fire department says that if you see anyone on the ice, tell them to get off as it’s not safe. This includes animals.

“We (all) need to relay the message that it is not safe… I would not recommend that,” said Merrill.

What do you do if someone falls in?

Ice can deteriorate four times faster than it forms, the fire department said. Should an individual or animal fall into icy waters, moderate to severe hypothermia can occur in less than 10 minutes, according to the fire department, with the window of opportunity for a successful rescue closing rapidly.

If someone falls through the ice, Prince William County Fire and Rescue says you should:

  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Do not go onto the ice to rescue them.
  • Safely reach out to the victim by providing them something that will help them stay afloat.

WTOP’s Ivy Lyons contributed to this report.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

Terik King

Terik King is an Associate Producer for WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2022 he held roles producing podcasts, unscripted television and content for MTV, the NFL and independent documentary production companies.

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