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New Hampshire man dies when truck falls through ice of frozen pond

The state Department of Fish and Game said everyone involved knew the pond and was “experienced at traveling on ice."

The passenger in a pickup truck died Sunday morning after he became trapped underwater in a frozen pond in New Hampshire when the vehicle plunged through the ice, police said.

A local racing group confirmed that the victim was John Otis “Jack” Cook, 70, an ice racing enthusiast. The driver escapes and survived.

The Union Leader newspaper of Manchester reported that Cook and the driver were surveying ice thickness before Sunday Lakes Region Ice Racing Club races before the accident.

A Mayhew Funeral Services obituary said Cook was an “avid outdoorsman enjoying hunting, fishing, camping” and racing who became "an important part in forming the Lakes Region Ice Racing Club, where he raced since 1980."

The racing club did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The incident Sunday morning at Berry Pond in Moultonborough, 50 miles north of the capital, Concord, remains under investigation by the New Hampshire State Police.

The state Fish and Game Department declined to release additional information. It wrote in a statement that everyone involved was “experienced at traveling on ice and [was] familiar with this particular waterbody.”

“Recent rapid changes in the weather have created variable ice conditions state wide," Fish and Game Department wrote. "Unfortunately, in this case, over a foot of solid ice was bordered by a thin area that gave way to the weight of the front end of the vehicle.”

According to historical weather data for the Moultonborough area, temperatures one week before the fatal plunge were above 60 degrees and since then had not stayed below freezing for more than a few hours at a time.

On Facebook, other club members posted memories of Cook, whom one referred to his nickname, "Gentleman Jack," and who another said "always had a smile on his face no matter win or lose."

"RIP Jack you made it proudly to the finish line!"