PARISHVILLE Two St. Lawrence County men died Monday night after their snowmobiles crashed through the ice on the Rainbow Falls Reservoir at about 8 p.m., while a relative had to be hospitalized after he fell into the water during a rescue attempt.
State police identified the dead men as Robert Campbell, 78, of Norwood, and Robert Whalen, 87, of Canton. Troopers said both men were southbound on the snow-covered ice when they went into open water.
Two other men in their snowmobiling party attempted to rescue the fallen riders. Police said Daniel Campbell, 56, of Hammond, and David Livingston, 51, of Conesus, raced to shore, got a canoe and attempted to pull the other two men to safety. The younger Mr. Campbell, reportedly the older mans son, fell into the water during that effort.
State police, Sheriffs Department deputies, Department of Environmental Conservation units, rescue units from Parishville, Colton and Potsdam, and St. Lawrence County Dive Team members from Waddington, Lisbon and Massena assisted in the rescue effort.
The last man was pulled from the water shortly after 10 p.m.
The elder Mr. Campbell and Mr. Whalen were taken to Canton-Potsdam Hospital, Potsdam, where they were pronounced dead. The younger Mr. Campbell had to be treated for hypothermia, but information on his condition could not be confirmed Tuesday.
St. Lawrence County Coroner June Wood said the Campbell family asked that an autopsy not be performed on the elder mans body, and that his cause of death has been ruled hypothermia. An autopsy on Mr. Whalens body Tuesday afternoon determined his cause of death to be drowning, with hypothermia as a contributing factor.
According to his obituary, which appears on Page B5, Mr. Campbell was a retired Niagara Mohawk employee and avid outdoorsman.
Mr. Whalen was a longtime figure in the Canton business community, where he was a partner in the Witherbee & Whalen monument company on Hodskin Street.