ROCHESTER, Wis. – Divers recovered the body of a backhoe operator whose machine fell through the ice Monday, leaving the cab under water in a quarry pond.
The 25- to 30-ton piece of equipment fell into the pond at the Park View Sand and Gravel Pit and settled at a sharp angle with the cab submerged, according to the Racine County Sheriff's Department.
Firefighters and rescue workers arrived at the quarry 5 minutes after the emergency call came in at 10:19 a.m. CST, said Deputy Matt Prochaska. Crews worked for at least three hours to right the machine and reach the cab, believing the man could have survived if the cab was watertight.
But when workers finally tipped over the backhoe, the man was not inside it, Kazmarcik said.
Divers found the body at about 4 p.m. It was 4 to 6 feet from where the backhoe went under, said Jack Biermann, an assistant fire chief.
He said the operator was trying to a free a cable that was stuck in the ice.
The victim, Charles S. Nemetz, 62, of Sussex, was taken to Memorial Hospital of Burlington, where he was pronounced dead by Racine County Medical Examiner Tom Terry, who said the cause of death was pending, with an autopsy planned Tuesday.