Police confirm body of missing snowmobiler found

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Police say late this morning, search and rescue crews recovered the body of a snowmobiler who went missing yesterday near Swanton. Police said they located a body in the water near the location where a snowmobile operated by Michael Rich was found abandoned. The body was positively identified as that of Mr. Rich.

Rescue crews said it didn’t take long for them to find rich’s body on Tuesday morning.

“We all worked together so you know everything went smoothly,” said Captain Ralph Comiskey of the Highgate Fire Department.

Police are still investigating the incident.

“We have to take it from square one. Why were they out there when the ice wasn’t in the best condition,” said VSP Lt. Jerry Partin.

According to Vermont State Police, Rich was out snowmobiling with his friend – 51 year old Rahel Barrows, when their sleds fell through the ice. The two however, managed to get to a nearby camp. Barrows reportedly remained at the camp, while Rich went back to his girlfriend’s house to get another snowmobile in order to pick up his friend. That’s when he fell through the ice  

“He was submerged hanging onto the ice shelf,” said Comisky.

Officials say right now, is a dangerous time to be out on the ice.

“I mean you’re going out on maybe two inches of ice. the depth is maybe 12-14 feet and the current is significant,” said Comiskey.

“Don’t take any risks on the ice. you have to look at the weather conditions as changing. It’s still early,” said Lt. Partin.

An autopsy will be conducted at the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington to determine the cause and manner of death. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call state police in St. Albans at 802-524-5993.  

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