OWEN COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — It was an emotional day back to school for students and staff in a district southwest of Indianapolis. Two students from Spencer-Owen Schools died in what sheriff deputies are calling a tragic ice-fishing accident.
The incident happened in the Romona quarry area just north of Spencer Sunday afternoon.
Deputies say the 17-year-old and 13-year-old boys were ice-fishing with relatives when they fell through the ice.
The Owen County Sheriff’s Department identified the teens as Edward “Eddie” Shoemaker, 17, and Dominic Arthur, 13. Officials say they were under water for about an hour and a half before they were rescued. Both were taken to IU Health Bloomington Hospital, where they later died.
Family and friends remembered Eddie and Dominic Monday. The sheriff tells 24-Hour News 8 Eddie is Dominic’s uncle. Dominic’s father tried to rescue the boys from the water.
“Everybody was just kind of sad and was just thinking about them,” said Seth Harris, freshman at Owen Valley High School.
Both teens went to school in the Spencer-Owen school district. The district’s interim superintendent said in a statement that Eddie was a junior in high school and Dominic was a 7th grader.
“I knew Dom, I played basketball with him, but I really didn’t know Eddie,” said Harris. “Everybody in school said he was a good guy and he was really friendly.”
Students and staff returned to school on Monday to news that the two teens were killed in an ice-fishing accident. Counselors were called in to help.
“Most of the teachers were kind of helping us out and the counselors came in and talked to most of the kids who were having trouble with it,” said Harris.
Those who knew Eddie and Dom couldn’t believe what happened Sunday afternoon.
“They simply got out on some thin ice and two boys fell in and the father did everything he could to rescue the two boys,” said Sheriff Sam Hobbs, Owen County Sheriff’s Department.
Multiple agencies tried to help. Photos taken by the Department of Natural Resources show the magnitude of the rescue efforts. People on scene say it wasn’t an easy task.
“The area by not being an active quarry for many years was unknown to a lot of the responders,” said Lt. William Snodgrass, Owen County Sheriff’s Department. “A little difficult to find the exact quarry hole, where the accident took place and once they did identify the location, access to the quarry hole was restricted due to terrain.”
If you would like to help the family during this difficult time you can contact the Owen County Sheriff’s Department at 812-829-4874.