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Neighbors die in ice fishing accident on central Minnesota lake

The two men went ice fishing together on Sunday.

Neighbors who went ice fishing together on Sunday died when their ATV went through the ice on Fish Trap Lake in Morrison County, which is about 30 miles southwest of Brainerd. 

According to the Morrison County Sheriff's Office, Wayne Vaverek, 68, and Leonard Sanoski, 71, both of Cushing, Minnesota, didn't return home Sunday night after heading out on the lake.

A search and rescue team discovered an area in the middle of the lake where a Polaris ATV appeared to have gone through the ice, and on the surface of the ice near the edge of the water was Vaverek, who was pronounced dead at the scene after life-saving efforts were unsuccessful. 

The search for Sanoski continued into the night before being called off late Sunday, resuming on Monday morning. Ultimately divers found his body inside the cab of the side-by-side ATV, which was submerged in about 40 feet of water. 

The ATV went through the ice on a pressure ridge – a hazardous area of ice on lakes – that was 200 yards long and 75 yards wide, the sheriff's office notes. 

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The pressure ridge has been marked with orange cones and the sheriff's office advises people to stay off of it. 

It's the latest in a series of fatal or near-fatal incidents involving people going through thin ice in Minnesota so far this winter, with authorities warning that the ice on many lakes has not yet been firmly established.

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