2 killed after ATV falls into Minnesota lake

Lake in Morrison County still has open water

There is open water on Fish Trap Lake, the lake where two bodies were found after authorities received a report Sunday, Dec. 9, of two overdue fishermen. Morrison County Sheriff Shawn Larsen encouraged people to stay away from the area enclosed with cones. Submitted Photo

CUSHING, Minn. -- Two men died Sunday, Dec. 9, after their ATV went into the icy waters of Fish Trap Lake in central Minnesota.

The victims have been identified as 71-year-old Leonard Sanoski and 68-year-old Wayne Vaverek, both of Cushing.

The Morrison County Sheriff’s Office was called at 6:32 p.m. Sunday regarding two neighbors who live on Fish Trap Lake, 5 miles north of Cushing, which is 15 miles northwest of Little Falls. The two were together fishing Sunday night. Family members notified the sheriff’s office they were unable to contact the men, who were late returning home. The sheriff’s office coordinated search and rescue efforts and learned a Polaris side-by-side all-terrain vehicle was missing.

After finding open water near the middle of the lake, the body of 68-year-old Wayne Vaverek of Cushing was found on the ice near the edge of water, a news release stated. Vaverek was pronounced dead at the scene.

Searchers were unable to locate the other man Sunday. On Monday, the Morrison County and Stearns County dive teams found the body of 71-year-old Leonard Sanoski of Cushing inside the enclosed cab of the Polaris side-by-side ATV, the sheriff’s office reported.


The side-by-side ATV, which is typically designed to carry two or more people, was discovered in 40 feet of water. This incident took place on a pressure ridge, which are known to have broken or weak ice.

Morrison County Sheriff Shawn Larsen stated the pressure ridge is marked with cones and authorities are reminding residents to stay away from the area.

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