UPDATE: Rock County fatal snowmobile accident - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Rock County fatal snowmobile accident

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NEWVILLE (WKOW)-- A Beloit snowmobiler is dead after he and a friend fell into lake Koshkonong in the town of Newville Sunday morning. Both went into the frigid water but at different sides of the lake.

"A nearby resident heard someone yell for help and they believed the person yelling for help was in lake Koshkonong based on the direction the sound was coming from," Rock County Captain Jude Maurer says.

Rock County deputies and Milton fire fighters responded to the call, sending boats and divers into the frigid water.

"Deputies eventually were able to get the air boat out into the area and saw gloves on the water. They investigated further and they discovered a male subject deceased in the water," Maurer says.

Deputies have identified him as 47-year-old Willie Guzman from Beloit. They believe he and his riding partner Lewis Masterson got separated in the fog when they each hit open water on lake Koshkonong. Masterson escaped to a local tavern and reported his friend was missing.

The accident happened just a few hundred yards off the shore line. DNR officials spent most of Sunday afternoon searching for the snowmobiles they left behind.

Wisconsin DNR says it's the 17th snowmobile death this season. Several accidents have been reported in the Southern Wisconsin region.

Just last week on Lake Wisconsin, five snowmobilers fell through the ice. All five made it out alive. A few weeks before that a snowmobiler in Superior Wisconsin lost eight toes to frost bite after he spent 50 hours in the cold when his snowmobile stopped running.

With Spring on it's way officials warn snowmobilers of the pending thaw. They're urging people to ride safely during these last few weeks of Winter.

"It's our suggestion that you be very careful when you're going out on the lakes," Maurer says.

The Rock County Sheriffs Office has determined that heavy fog was the reason why both snowmobilers became disoriented and drove out on the lake. Alcohol was not a factor in the accident.

 

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ROCK COUNTY (WKOW) -- A snowmobiler falls into Lake Koshkonong and was pronounced dead by Mercy Hospital medical staff.

Crews responded to the 11000 block of North Lakeview Drive in Milton Township about 1:30 Sunday morning.

It was reported by a residence nearby that someone was yelling for help. As emergency crews were responding, a snowmobiler, Lewis Masterson, 46, of Beloit, came into the Countryside Tavern who said he had gone into the water and walked to shore, but his riding partner was missing.

According to the Rock County Sheriff's Office, they were able to find the missing rider in the water about 300-400 yards from shore. Forty-seven-year-old Willie Guzman of Beloit was unresponsive and taken to Mercy Hospital. Guzman was pronounced dead by Mercy medical staff.

The riders became disoriented on the lake because of darkness and fog and they traveled into open water. Alcohol was not a factor.

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