JACKSON-- A birthday celebration ended in a tragedy for two men from the Jackson-area. They died after their snowmobiles ended up in a lake in Northern Wisconsin. The incident occurred early Sunday in Oneida County.
31-Year-Old Dave Erdman from Jackson and his friend, Kurtis Shernell, 27, from Hustisford died.
"We're struggling right now for sure," said Joe Erdman, victim's brother.
Erdman said his brother turned 31 on Saturday and had got the snowmobile as a present to himself. He went with his friends to the area near Tomahawk to try it out.
"The three of them was on their way, on the trails late and night. And took a wrong turn onto the lake. Dave was following his buddy Kurt and they went right in," said Erdman.
The Oneida County Sheriff's Office said one of the men from Erdman's group, Austin Zilmer, was able to make it out of the water and call 911. A neighbor heard his cries for help.
"I woke up suddenly and I could hear somebody yelling, help, help, help me," said Julie Beeney from Nokomis, Wisconsin.
Erdman and Shernell died before help could get to them. Zilmer survived.
"I don't think people realize back in this part of the lake we have a river coming in, so the water doesn't freeze like the rest of the lake," said Beeney.
Erdman said the men were good friends and their families know each other.
"Everybody knows each other and knows of them. We are a big community coming together right now for sure," said Erdman.
The Nokomis Volunteer Fire Chief Don Reicher said there are times when trails on lakes and ponds are open. But they are marked. Right now they are not open because of the thin ice conditions.
The family of Erdman needs help paying for his funeral. There is a GoFundMe setup if you'd like to make a donation.