Investigation continues into fatal ice break

Elizabeth White


William Smallfield was one of a handful of people on Saturday to fall through the ice. All others escaped.
Sierra County Sheriff’s Office

A 72-year-old Truckee man died after falling through broken ice while skating over the weekend at Stampede Reservoir, authorities said.

The body of William Smallfield, 72, was recovered Sunday morning with the assistance of both the Washoe County Hasty Team and the Placer County Dive Team, authorities said.

The investigation into the incident continued this week, they added.

“We offer our sincere condolences to Mr. Smallfield’s family and friends,” the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.

Smallfield was one of a handful of people on Saturday to fall through the ice. All others escaped.

CareFlight and CHP helicopters assisted with transporting personnel to the incident scene, as well as patient care of five people who were able to remove themselves from the icy water.

It is unknown exactly how many were at the lake that day, according to Laura Brown, Truckee Fire District public information officer.

“Five of them were able to self-rescue out of the water, one of them was transported to the hospital by Careflight helicopter for a shoulder injury,” Brown said.

Other agencies that responded included the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Forest Service, Cal Fire, the state Department of Fish and Game, and the Olympic Valley Fire Department.

Truckee Fire in a release urged everyone to stay off the ice on area lakes due to the improbability of safety and stability of the ice with the recent warmer temperatures.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.