Four youths are facing charges of second-degree murder over the 2011 death of a man found clinging to ice in the waters of Sandy Lake, RCMP say.

The charges were announced Saturday, one day after RCMP reported that the May 1, 2011 death of Christian Bird was being investigated as a homicide.

According to police, Bird was spotted clinging to a chunk of ice in Sandy Lake by a person passing by the area.

Bird was about 16 metres from shore.

The witness alerted an RCMP officer who was in the area responding to a related disturbance. The officer entered the frigid water and pulled Bird to shore. The 27-year-old man was unresponsive, and shortly after he was brought to shore he was pronounced dead.

Bird was from the Ahtahkakoop First Nation, which is near Sandy Lake.

Police said three of the four people charged were youths at the time of the alleged offence. Their names cannot be reported under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The fourth person charged is 19-year-old Dannie Justin Knife, from Prince Albert, Sask.

Sandy Lake is about 90 kilometres northwest of Prince Albert.