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Iceboating tragedy in Michigan

Published on February 7th, 2023

The iceboating community got a jolt as the Detroit Free Press delivers difficult news from Michigan:

An 81-year-old Independence Township man died after crashing his sleek, 27-foot iceboat on frozen Pontiac Lake.

It appears that Dan Campbell was moving fast across the ice in his one-person craft and may have hit his head with enough force to kill him, despite wearing a protective helmet and face shield.

The sheriff’s office said Campbell was on the easternmost part of the lake in White Lake Township just before noon on February 5 when his iceboat crashed, about 100 yards from shore, and investigators were looking for answers to what might have led to the crash. Other iceboaters were on the lake at the time of the crash.

The sheriff’s office did not identify what kind of iceboat Campbell was in. Campbell was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A medical examination on February 6 was expected to determine exactly how Campbell died.

Michigan, which is well-known for its ice sailing because there are so many frozen lakes with unobstructed wind, has several ice yacht clubs, including the Detroit Ice Yacht Club, West Michigan Ice Yacht Club, and Gull Lake Ice Yacht Club.

Editor’s note: We have not been able to determine what caused the accident. If you have information, please send it to

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