DIVERS SEARCH: Ice Fisherman’s Name Released

The search resumed Monday for a Grundy Center man who fell through the ice this weekend on Lake Ponderosa.

Fifty-seven-year-old David Hartke was ice fishing with a friend Saturday night when the UTV he was on broke through the ice on the lake. Another man on a separate UTV was able to get help.

As the he search for Hartke continues, the efforts have gripped the small town of Montezuma. “I’m just interested to see if they can get him out of there or not,” said Montezuma resident, Kenneth Schwartz.

People watch from the shoreline hoping for the best.

On Sunday evening, the search was called off due to thin ice and limited resources. By 6:30 Monday morning, it was back on with a new team of divers better able to work in these difficult conditions.

“As a small department, we can’t dive. We have to call others to dive for us,” said Montezuma Fire Chief, Chris Widmer.

The Midwest Regional Dive team out of Red Oak is providing six divers. Each spends fifteen minutes in the water before having to warm up.

Widmer says they need it to stay cold because they need thick ice in order to keep working. “We worried that if it gets much warmer, the ice will get thinner. We’re looking at six inches at the most,” said Widmer.

Widmer says as little as four inches of ice will support the divers, but that’s cutting it close. The spot where Hartke’s UTV fell in was just two inches thick.

“The ranger in the water searched the cab to make sure he wasn’t in the cab or underneath it,” said Widmer.

As long as the ice holds and divers are available to go in, the search will continue.

Divers are also battling low visibility. They say it’s about four feet and gets worse towards the bottom of the lake.

 

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