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Teen dies after falling through frozen pond

Posted at 10:15 PM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 21:06:13-05

DEWAR, Okla. — A 17-year-old girl died after falling through the ice and into a pond in Dewar.

The superintendent at Dewar Public Schools announced Friday afternoon that Tristan Gaither, a Junior at Dewar High School, died in the accident.

It happened at 5 p.m. Thursday. According to the Okmulgee County Sheriff's Office several agencies responded to the scene, including the Dewar and Henryetta Police and Fire Departments.

Officials told 2 Works for You they believe Gaither may have been out on the ice trying to rescue a dog when she fell into the waters and drowned.

Earlier this week, a Delaware County man died after falling through ice into Grand Lake while trying to rescue a dog.

According to Aaron Swayze with Okmulgee County Sheriff's Office, the pond is anywhere between 16 to 20 feet deep, and the layer of ice over it is four inches thick.

Swayze said no matter how stable a frozen surface may appear, it's not stable or safe.

“Stay off a pond, swimming pools. You don’t know how thick the ice is. It’s just not safe,” he said

Police advise everyone that it's hazardous to go out on any frozen pond, creek, or lake in Oklahoma.

"This situation was a tragic event, especially for the family and small-town involved," said Duston Todd with the Okmulgee County Sheriff's Office. "Hopefully, we can prevent this situation from repeating itself."

Cheyanne Holman, principal of Dewar High School, said she would remember Gaither for her bright spirit.

“Everywhere she went, she just made people happy. She tried to bring people’s spirits up. She was just... I don’t know. She was awesome," Holman said.

All classes at Dewar Public Schools are canceled Friday due to the tragedy. School officials are providing counseling services for the students.

Posted by Dewar High School on Thursday, 18 February 2021

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