Authorities have called off the search for a missing snowmobile rider in eastern Iowa. Jackson County Emergency Management Coordinator Lin Medinger says 23-year-old Shawn Berthel and a friend, Brett Stalker, were riding snowmobiles Saturday night near Preston when the ice cracked on the Maquoketa River.
“Two subjects had broken through the ice and one subject was out, one was still missing,” Medinger said. Stalker pulled himself from the freezing water and called for help. Sheriff’s deputies, a K9 unit and a dive team spent Saturday night, Sunday and Monday searching the river for Berthel.
The river is only three to six feet deep in the area, but the divers struggled in the rapid waters. “The current is tremendous right now. Our divers are having trouble staying parallel because the current is so strong,” Medinger said. Investigators found the two snowmobiles, but no sign of Berthel.
The Lambourne Diving Team from Mechanicsville, which volunteered to search the river, called off that search Monday night.
By Katie Wiedemann, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids