UPDATED: Snowmobiler found dead on Delavan Lake

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Gazette staff
Sunday, February 23, 2014

 TOWN OF DELAVAN—A town of Delavan man who was riding a snowmobile alone on Delavan Lake died in an accident on Saturday night or Sunday morning.

Town of Delavan police did not release the 51-year-old's identity, pending release of a coroner's report.

The cause of death remains under investigation, but initial observations indicate the snowmobile was traveling at high speed when it flew through the air and crashed into a bed of cattails, said town of Delavan Sgt. Raymond Clark.

The man was thrown from the vehicle.

Clark said it appears the snowmobile hit something to cause it to take to the air, but what it hit was not immediately determined.

 Investigators believe the man was alone on the lake when the accident occurred, Clark said.

Police were notified of a missing adult at about 8:15 a.m. Sunday. The man's family told police that he had left his residence alone on his snowmobile at about 7 p.m. Saturday, the release states.

Minutes later, family members who had been looking for the man “for quite some time” reported they found his wrecked snowmobile in a remote area of the south side of Delavan Lake Inlet, Clark said.

The body was found “fully obscured by deep snow and heavy cattail cover,” the release states.

A widespread search for the man continued until his body was found a short distance from the snowmobile around 10 a.m., Clark said.

The swampy area made the search difficult, Clark said.

 Assisting town police were the Walworth County Sheriff's Office, state Department of Natural Resources, police from the cities of Delavan and Williams Bay and fire and rescue units from the town of Delavan, Elkhorn, Williams Bay, and cities of Delavan and Lake Geneva.

The Flight for Life helicopter helped in the search.

A Department of Natural Resources' online list shows 15 snowmobile fatalities this winter, before this latest incident. All the fatalities involved collision with a fixed object, and most involved speed. Three occurred on lakes.



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