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Divers search pond for missing driver

/ Source: The Associated Press

Divers searched a partially frozen pond in a quarry Monday for the body of a backhoe operator whose machine fell through the ice.

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 a minute after the emergency call came in at 10:18 a.m., Sgt. Robert Kazmarcik said. 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.

The quarry is dotted with ponds and low-lying areas that filled with rain over the past few weeks and froze over, Kazmarcik said.

A person answering the phone at that business would not comment.

The victim is in his 60s and was trying to a free a cable that was stuck in the ice, said Jack Biermann, an assistant fire chief. His identity was not immediately released.