THE toll taken by the big freeze in Britain yesterday rose when two brothers who were rescued from a frozen lake died later in hospital.
A third brother was treated by doctors and later released, Leicester Royal Infirmary said.
The three were rescued from the lake in Watermead Country Park, Leicester, by emergency services just after 2.30pm.
A fourth man was also at the scene but did not go into the water, police said. A Leicestershire Police spokeswoman said despite reports the men had been scattering ashes, the force did not understand this was the case.
And the unrelenting cold spell was causing other problems with grit and gas supplies faltering and forecasters predicting no let-up in the days to come.
Rail, road and air travel were all disrupted and hundreds of schools remained closed as the icy conditions caused chaos.
Weather forecasters expect 12 more days of below-average cold for Britain, while a new storm headed toward Germany. Northern Spain was also braced for heavy snow.
Nearly 100 businesses were forced to stop using gas by the National Grid in a bid to conserve supplies in the face of record demand.
Council leaders agreed to reduce their use of grit by a quarter to eke out supplies. Britain's Highways Agency has already stopped treating hard shoulders.
In Hampshire, new mother Angela Mahon told yesterday how she was forced to walk through a blizzard in her pyjamas to get to hospital to give birth to twins on Tuesday.
She told the 'Portsmouth News': "I thought we weren't going to make it. I was so scared, I was really panicking. I think I was in shock. I just wanted to get there for the twins." In a separate tragedy the body of 45-year-old Philip Hughes from Berkshire, southern England, was recovered from beneath the ice in a frozen lake in Frimley Green, Surrey.
He had been staying at the complex to watch the BDO darts world championship.
At least 24 people have died since before Christmas in incidents thought to have been related to the weather.
A man in his 20s was airlifted to hospital yesterday after a sledging accident in Strood, Kent, south-east England, but his injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.
Concerns were raised about the plight of the elderly during the cold snap, who Age Concern warned could become "prisoners in their homes".
Head of policy at the charity, Andrew Harrop, said: "Icy roads and pavements are making many older people prisoners in their homes, frightened to venture out through fear of falling and leaving them feeling isolated and lonely.