O nce the sun rose this morning , search crews suited up and began their search for 48-year-old James Michael Larder II. The Eaton Rapids man was reported missing around 3 a.m.
D ue to the size of Mullett Lake, it took several hours before crews came upon Larder's helmet and gloves near broken ice.
" Unfortunately the individual wasn't familiar with the area , he was in the area when he drove the snowmobile right into thin ice at the mouth of the Indian River ," Cheboygan County Sheriff Dale Claremont said.
L arder had left Breakers Bar and Grill in Topinabee to make his way back to his vacation home on the other side of the lake.
R ight before he left , he checked in with his family and then began his snowmobile ride back to his home.
" He did have contact with his family members and told them when he was coming and when he was going. When he did not call the family members back, they called us," Sheriff Claremont explained.
T he ice on Mullett Lake is around 20 inches thick, but the area at the mouth of Indian River is only an inch.
T his is the second snowmobile accident this winter in cheboygan county . And is the 18th recorded death around the state. S heriff Claremont says accidents like these can easily be avoided.
" Snowmobiler s should be very cautious any time they are on the lake and they should be very familiar with where they are going and stay away from open water and the mouth of the river," Sheriff Claremont added.
T he investigation is ongoing to figure out the events leading up to his death.