A city manager drowned Friday — but not before saving his 4-year-old son after they both plunged through the ice of a Maine pond.
Kevin Howell, 51, and his son, Sawyer, were walking an area of Lake Edna early in the morning when the ice collapsed under their weight, the Penobscot County Sheriff's Office said.
Howell pulled Sawyer out of the cold water and instructed him to walk the 0.3 mile back to their Carmel home to pick up his mother.
The teenager bravely made a trip to his mother, who called 911 and rushed to help her husband, grabbing an anchor and rope along the way, police said.
After securing the rope to shore and racing across the ice to reach Howell, the wife sadly broke through the ice and was unable to get out.
Fortunately, the Penobscot sheriff arrived moments later, crawled across the ice and successfully rescued Howell's wife using the same rope he had tied moments earlier.
However, Howell has disappeared beneath the surface.
His body was recovered by divers just before 2 p.m., 20 minutes after they entered the water and nearly 8 hours after Howell broke through the ice.
At the time of his death, Howell was serving as the city manager of Carmel, about 100 miles northeast of Lewiston.
He has held the position since 2015 and has received numerous accolades for his work in town government, including the 2020 Town Leadership Award. Carmel's website.
Several city employees changed their Facebook profile pictures to a picture of the city's logo, with a black ribbon symbolizing the tragedy, in the hours after the tragedy.
Howell also served as a member of Maine's second EMS Blue Ribbon Commission.
“Mr. Howell was a visionary for the development of his community's regional EMS system. We greatly appreciate his support of the Maine Bureau of EMS, the State of Maine, and his kindness to his community and colleagues. To his friends and his family Our deepest sympathies,” said Maine EMS said in a statement.
Lake Etna covers about 361 acres and is 12 feet deep and is a popular spot for ice fishing and skating.