DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Dickson County Sheriff confirms a 77-year-old farmer died Thursday after he attempted to save two calves who went out onto a frozen pond. 

Sheriff Tim Eads tells News 2 a frozen pond gave way as farmer Donald Mitchell was attempting to save the calves. The farm is located in Vanleer on Highway 49 West near the county line. 

Officials say Mitchell’s wife was with him when he fell in and alerted first responders to the accident.

“This pond did sustain his and their weight a pretty good distance before they went in,” Eads said. “The ice can be very deceiving.”

Crews were able to pull Mitchell from the water, but unfortunately, he did not survive. 

“A lot of times it’s instinct you know you may not have a lot of time.  If the animals went through the ice and were struggling it happens to a lot of folks.  People go to great extents,” Eads said.

Mitchell’s death marks the sixth weather-related fatality in the state this week.