MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Fire departments across the Charlotte area are issuing a warning to the public about the dangers of trying to stand on frozen ponds, lakes, and streams.
With the Charlotte area experiencing its coldest seven-day period since 1994, many bodies of water have at least a thin layer of ice across the top, including many of Charlotte's busiest parks.
But whatever you do, officials say, don't stand on the ice.
A local man found out the hard way. The story started with a rare photo of Kenyon Stanley's son standing on a frozen cove of Lake Norman. Stanley told NBC Charlotte he'd never seen the water outside his home frozen like that before.
So, he and his son had a little fun with it. After taking the photo, they made a video of his son throwing a golf ball across the surface. While NBC Charlotte's Xavier Walton was filming the scene, Stanley thought he'd try to stand on the lake himself.
Instantly, the ice cracked and Stanley found himself waist-deep in the icy waters. He began breaking up the frozen surface with his arms before he was able to get safely on the dock.
“I figured I could put a little bit of my weight on the ice,” Stanley said. “It cracked, and I went through.”
Now, emergency officials are telling the public about this potentially dangerous situation, especially families with children, because sadly, it does happen. In 2015, a Salisbury boy fell into a frozen lake and was in the water for nearly 20 minutes. He later died at the hospital.
Where Stanley fell into the lake was the exact spot his son was standing just hours earlier.
“I'm 200-plus pounds,” Stanley explained. “My son weighs less than 70, and was within an arm's grasp.”