At approximately 6:41 p.m. on Saturday, February 16, the Pine County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call reporting that a snowmobiler had broken through the ice on the St Croix River approximately four miles north of the Soderbeck River Landing located at the end of Pine County Road 10.
Pine and Burnett County sheriff’s deputies along with Pine City firefighters and the National Park Service responded to the scene, which had no direct road access and was located in the wilderness of the St. Croix River National Scenic Waterway.
Eventually responders located a partially submerged snowmobile on the edge of a large open area of turbulent water, but they were unable to locate any sign of the victim.
According to other riders that were accompanying the victim, the group of three were traveling on the frozen river in the dark when the victim hit a large patch of open water. The victim was thrown from his machine and disappeared in the river. It is believed that the victim may have been swept away by river current downstream and under the ice pack.
Because of dangerous river conditions, no responders entered the water, but an extensive search was conducted on foot, by snowmobile and State Patrol helicopter.
The victim’s name will not be released until next of kin are notified. The search for the victim resumed, Sunday, February 17.
Pokegama Lake accident
On February 16 at approximately 9:15 p.m. the Pine County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call reporting a snowmobile accident on Pokegama Lake.
Pine County sheriff’s deputies, emergency medical personnel and the Pine City Fire Department responded to the accident. The victim was located approximately 1,000 feet from shore on the frozen lake. The victim was found with serious life threatening injuries. The victim was transported by rescue sled to waiting ambulance and then transported to the hospital in Mora, where an air ambulance was waiting.
It appears that the victim struck a partially submerged island and was thrown from his snowmobile. The condition of the victim is unknown at this time, and the name is being withheld. Investigation continues.