Snowmobiler’s body recovered from river

December 30, 2013
The area where the crash happened.

The area where the crash happened.

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

AMBER TWP. — Police and fire personnel have recovered the body of William Green, the 35-year-old Ludington resident who accidentally drove his snowmobile off a 150-foot embankment into the Pere Marquette River Sunday night. Crews started the search this morning and found the body in 5.5 feet of water about 75 yards downstream from the point of impact, which was about a quarter mile south of the intersection of Conrad and Gordon roads.

Det. Sgt. Tom Posma stands on the bank overlooking the scene.

Det. Sgt. Tom Posma stands on the bank overlooking the scene.

He was found with a remote operating vehicle from Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office and recovered by water rescue personnel.

The crash occurred around 7:15 p.m. Sunday. Green and a companion were snowmobiling in the field. Green was on the lead snowmobile, which went airborne off the embankment. His companion called 911. While emergency personnel were able to recover the snowmobile, they could not safely search for the body with the darkness and other dangerous conditions.

Sheriff Kim Cole said Green was unfamiliar with the area.

Hamlin Twp. Fire Dept. personnel prepare to enter the water.

Hamlin Twp. Fire Dept. personnel prepare to enter the water.

Preparing the site for recovery operations took several hours this morning. A path was cleared using equipment and personnel from Mason County Road Commission. Personnel were then called in from Mason County Sheriff’s Office, Ludington Police Dept., Michigan State Police, Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, Scottville Fire Dept., Branch Fire Dept, Custer Fire Dept., Hamlin Fire Dept. and the West Shore Chapter of American Red Cross.

Temperatures are only in the teens today. A cold wind decreased the temperature even more. Combined with the deep embankment and ice on the river, conditions were treacherous for rescuers.

Mason County Road Commission cleared a path to the scene.

Mason County Road Commission cleared a path to the scene.

Other equipment being used was a boat from Custer Fire Dept. along with all-terrain vehicles from Branch, Custer and Hamlin fire departments. Dive specialists from Michigan State Police in Lansing were also on the scene.

This was the county’s first snowmobile fatality of the year and the ninth traffic fatality.

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