Snowmobiler presumed dead after crash in river

December 29, 2013

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AMBER TWP. — A 34-year-old Ludington man is presumed dead after the snowmobile he was riding went into the Pere Marquette River Sunday night. His name is not being released until his family is notified.

Emergency personnel were called to the corner of Gordon and Conrad roads at 7:17 p.m. for the report of a snowmobile that had fallen over an embankment about a quarter mile south of that intersection on private property owned by Conrad Farms. Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole said two snowmobilers were traveling when the lead snowmobiler went off the 100-foot embankment. “His sled went landed on the ice and the driver went into the river,” Sheriff Cole said. “The driver was unfamiliar with the area, but was traveling at a slow speed.”

snowmobile crash fatal 12-28-13MCSO, Life EMS ambulance, Scottville Fire Dept. and Custer Fire Dept. were the first units called to the scene. “Getting back to the area of the crash was a challenge,” Cole said. Though Custer Fire Dept. has an all-terrain vehicle, it is not equipped with tracks, allowing it to go through the snow. For that reason, Scottville Fire Chief Dale Larr requested an ATV from Branch Fire Dept., which is equipped with tracks. Later, personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard were also called in for possible water rescue. Scottville Fire Dept. personnel were also prepared for water rescue. Quinn’s Tire and Tows also assisted.

Cole said while the sled was recovered, personnel were unable to recover the body. “There are just too many dangerous factors with the darkness and the winter conditions. We felt it was best to re-access the situation first thing in the morning, in the light.” Personnel will meet at the scene again about 10 a.m.

This was the county’s first snowmobile fatality of the year and the ninth traffic fatality. MCSO and Ludington Police Dept. along with the county’s Victim Services Unit were expected to notify the family of the man’s death.

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