Maine Warden Service divers prepare to go into the water to search for a Carmel man who broke through the ice Friday on Etna Pond. Courtesy Maine Warden Service

A Carmel man died Friday after falling through the ice on Etna Pond with his 4-year-old son, whom he helped get out of the water and then sent home to get help.

Kevin Howell, 51, and his son were on a walk Friday morning and were crossing a portion of the pond when they broke through the ice around 6:30 a.m., the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said in a statement.

Howell got the boy out of the water and told him to get his mother. They were about a third of a mile from their house.

She called 911 and ran to help Howell with an anchor and rope, the department said, but ended up falling through the ice herself.

A Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office deputy was already in the area when the 911 call went out. He arrived and helped Howell’s wife out of the water, using the rope she had secured to the shore. The detective could not find Howell, the department said.

News Center Maine said the warden service confirmed that Howell served as the Carmel town manager.


Six Maine Warden Service divers and a Maine State Police diver arrived in the afternoon and located Howell’s body a little before 2 p.m.

Etna Pond is about 360 acres. In addition to Carmel, it also reaches into the Penobscot County towns of Etna and Stetson. The pond is a popular place for ice fishing and skating.

Department spokesperson Mark Latti said Friday that you can’t always trust what you see when it comes to ice.

“You can’t tell if the ice is safe just by looking at it,” he said. “You really need to check it.”

Latti said the department asks people to be cautious around all ice, regardless of the activity and location.

“Really, except for the heroics of both the father, who got his son out of the water, and the sheriff’s detective who got the mother out of the water, it could’ve been a lot worse,” he said.

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