Man dies after falling in icy Avon lake | VailDaily.com

Man dies after falling in icy Avon lake

Veronica Whitney

AVON ” A man police say was drunk died of hypothermia Monday night hours after being pulled from icy Nottingham Lake.

But police had still not identified the man or figured out where he lived almost 24 hours later.

Rescue workers went to Nottingham Lake after a woman reported a man had fallen into the open water at the center of the partially frozen lake. The man, said to be his 20s or 30s, died of hypothermia and the death was ruled an accident, said Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis.

No identification was found within the man’s body, said Avon police Det. Mike Leake.

“Because of his blood alcohol content, you could say he was intoxicated,” Leake said Tuesday. “I need to get him identified to see what was going on.”

Leake said the man, who died at 10:45 p.m. in Vail Valley Medical Center’s emergency room, had a high blood alcohol content of .251. The legal driving limit is .08.

“He appeared to just be a sole person by himself, walking,” said Eagle River Fire Protection District Chief Charlie Moore, who crews attempted the rescue.

The man had made his way through ropes marking off an approximately 30-foot-by-30-foot hole at the center of the lake that hadn’t frozen, Moore added.

The man wasn’t wearing ice skates and didn’t appear to be on the lake in connection with the town’s seasonal ice skating rink.

Firefighters, police and medical emergency workers pulled the man from frigid water shortly after 8:20 p.m. Monday.

“It took us 19 minutes to pull him out of the water from the time we got the dispatch call,” Moore said Tuesday. “It takes time to set up, put on ice suits and set up safety precautions.”

Two “fully-trained ice rescue technicians went into the water and recovered the person,” said Kevin Rindy, a battalion chief with the Eagle River Fire Protection District.

Rescuers reported a pulse on the man at the time of the recovery, according to dispatch reports, but fire officials were later unable to confirm if the man was alive.

Nottingham Lake, located just west of the Avon Recreation Center, is a popular gathering spot throughout the year for running, walking and other recreational activities. During the winter, Avon operates an ice skating in a restricted area near the town’s log cabin, where skate rentals and concessions are available.

Moore said the last time a person was rescued from the lake was approximately 20 years ago and also didn’t survive the fall into the icy water.

Veronica Whitney can be reached at vwhitney@vaildaily.com. Staff Writer Geraldine Haldner contributed to this story.

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