Five Amish Children Fall Through Frozen Lake; One Drowns

I’m starting to dread looking at my Amish news feed because it seems every other story lately is some sort of tragedy. Sorry to say that this news out of Marquette County, Wisconsin falls into that unfortunate category. Amish often make use of frozen ponds and lakes for ice skating. In this case it ended with an accident and one child losing his or her life. From the Portage Daily Register:

TOWN OF SPRINGFIELD – A child drowned after falling through the ice on Twin Lake Sunday according to the Marquette County Sheriff’s Office.

According to a press release, the sheriff’s office received a call at 12:30 p.m. reporting five Amish children ice skating on the lake had fallen through the ice. Four of the children escaped safely and one did not, Marquette County Sheriff Joe Konrath said.

The incident is not considered suspicious but remains under investigation by the Marquette County Sheriff’s Office and Marquette County Coroner.

This is either the Kingston or Wautoma settlement, or possibly one other small settlement in Marquette County. Otherwise the story is very thin and there’s not much more to the report than that.

Photo: Melnee Benfield

Rule number one is to not venture onto any ice that’s not an appropriate thickness. It’s early in the winter, so perhaps the lake was not yet frozen enough for skating and these poor children may have simply been out too early.

In more northern communities with access to frozen water, skating and ice hockey are a popular form of winter recreation for Amish children and youth, and they are no doubt eager to get on the ice especially over winter holidays.

I only once walked out onto a natural frozen body of water and in this case it was a frozen sea that I was certain was thick enough (preceded by weeks of subzero temperatures). I shudder to think what it would be like to fall through ice into bone frigid water. Thankfully four of the children escaped or this would have been an even larger tragedy for this community. Condolences to this poor child’s family.

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    1. dirk willems

      I’m reminded of Dirk Willems. Only tangentialy, though.

    2. Ellie Diercksmeier

      5 Amish children drown

      We live in Marquette County. We know many of the Amish. Do we have any more news on this family?

      1. C.J.


        If you know many Amish in that county, perhaps you could visit some of those you know well, and ask in what way could any of us help?
        It must be such a tragedy to lose a child…but especially during the holiday season, it is a reminder every holiday season thereafter.
        Speaking from experience, my own Mother passed a few days prior to Christmas, 25 years ago this year! The Season has been a reminder of her passing each year since, and although we believe that she resides in Heaven with our Lord Jesus Christ, with other loved ones who have gone on before, it is still a sting and bitter reminder of how much we MISS her presence here, with us each year, when we celebrate Christ’s birth!
        PRAYERS go out to this family, and extended family, who mourn the loss of a child. May God and his angels surround them with HIS PEACE ~

        1. I don’t think that sting of loss ever fully goes away CJ. I do wish you peace in this season.

          1. C.J.


            Thank you Erik, for your kind words.
            I was lucky to have my parents for over 50 years. I am NOT SURE how I got SO OLD so quickly! Time sure does fly, and especially so when we get older.
            I don’t know if you, Erik, are a CHristian or not, but I have often wondered over the years, how people who are not Christians, can cope when losing a loved one, when they do not have a relationship with the Lord?
            The “sting” of death is certainly real, but knowing that your loved one has accepted and is following God, does lesson that sting, and God’s abundant love and comfort does surround us, to lesson that sting.
            May God be with these folks during this very difficult time.

      2. I haven’t seen anything else besides this one source.

        I found the Facebook post on their page, but there is no additional info there:

        I second what CJ says – maybe you’ll be able to find something out directly from one of the families you know. I don’t know which communities you know, but it’s possible this accident happened in a different one of the three settlements in Marquette County. Are you familiar with Twin Lake?

        1. Melanie

          5 children

          Skating on lakes/ponds is always risky.My heart goes out to the families .May God protect the child who perished in his loving arm’s.God Bless Everybody..

    3. "Doc" Kozlowski

      I grew up on Lake Saint Clare. We fished the lake for protein. We fished every winter. We were not foolish. No child ever passed. I’ve known many Amish. Sometimes they are too proud and foolish…

      1. Pat Monti

        Sometimes Too Proud and Foolish...

        Doc, I understand what you’re saying. I’ve also witnessed how most Amish in our area (central, Illinois) believe that everything’s God’s will: good, bad, and indifferent. However, as my husband’s always saying: God gave us a brain and free will. In our opinions many of the unfortunate situations with the Amish could be prevented.

        1. "Doc" Kozlowski

          My heart is broken at the loss of a child

          My nic was granted over 5 decades ago. I saved a friend that fell through the ice when I was 10. Such left an indelible mark on my soul. Never venture onto questionable ice.

    4. Dan

      I used to visit that Amish community about 12 years ago. Even volunteered in their school for a few months. It was a growing community back then and I am sure it has gotten much bigger.
      Very nice people and sad that this happened.

    5. Mose

      That was my cousin that died