Maine town manager drowns while rescuing 4-year-old son after both fall through ice


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A Maine town manager died after rescuing his 4-year-old son when they both plunged through ice in a pond.

Kevin Howell, 51, of Carmel and his son were out for a morning walk when they crossed a portion of Etna Pond and both broke through the ice around 6:30 a.m. Friday, the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook. The pond is about one third of a mile from their house. 

Howell was able to get his son out of the water before instructing the boy to get his mother, authorities said. The boy ran home and told his mother, who called 911 and rushed to help her husband, grabbing an anchor and rope on the way.

She secured the rope to the shore, then went to help her husband, but she ended up breaking through the ice herself and was unable to get out.

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Kevin Howell Maine

Kevin Howell was the town manager of Carmel, Maine. (Town of Carmel)

Penobscot Sheriff Detective Jordan Norton responded to a 911 call, spotted Howell’s wife in the water and crawled across the ice, holding onto the rope. He was able to pull her out of the ice, but he could not find her husband.

Six Maine Warden Service divers and one state police diver were called to the scene. Two warden service divers began a search about 1:40 p.m. and found Howell about 20 minutes later.

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Etna Pond in Maine

Etna Pond, which is said to be one-third of a mile away from Kevin Howell’s house. (Google Maps)

Howell’s biography on the Town of Carmel website says he and his wife moved to Carmel in 2014 and that in his spare time he enjoyed woodworking, expanding his family hobby farm and outdoor sporting activities. He was also described as being an “avid cook.”

Hinckley Pond Maine

Ice tends to be thinner on lakes and ponds near outlets and inlets because of the running water. (Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

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In addition to being town manager, Howell was involved in the state’s Emergency Medical Services as a member of the second EMS Blue Ribbon Commission.

“Mr. Howell was a visionary for his community’s development of a regional EMS system,” Maine EMS posted to Facebook. “We are very appreciative of his support for the Maine Bureau of EMS, the state of Maine and the kindness he showed his community and colleagues. Our deepest sympathies to his friends and his family.”

Etna Pond covers about 361 acres and has a depth of 12 feet, according to The Associated Press. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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