Crews recover man's body from Lake Ponderosa, family thankful - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Crews recover man's body from Lake Ponderosa, family thankful

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MONTEZUMA (KWWL) -

Crews have recovered the body of a man who fell through the ice this weekend at Lake Ponderosa, near Montezuma.

David Hartke, 57, of Grundy Center, first fell through the ice Saturday evening while driving a Ranger all-terrain vehicle. The initial dive teams found the vehicle resting on its roof in 14 feet of water. After four days of searching, divers rolled the vehicle over and found Hartke inside. They recovered his body at 6:05 p.m. Tuesday.

Hartke's brother-in-law, Todd Stumberg, said the recovery comes as a huge relief, and that the family is thankful that crews kept searching. He said now they can try and find some closure.

"When we got the news late Saturday night, it was tough," he said. "I think everybody was really in shock."

Hartke's family said he spent of a lot of time at the lake.

"He loved to fish, four-wheel and be around all his friends he had on the lake," Stumberg said.

Several dive teams from across the state were involved in the search for Hartke. They scoured a 90 foot radius from where he first broke through.

"The search wouldn't have ended successfully without the help of the divers who volunteered their time," Chris Widmer, Chief of the Montezuma Fire Department, said.

Tuesday evening, the divers were out of the water, waiting for a sonar unit from Wisconsin. But as it was being set up, Stumberg said, divers decided to take one last look under the ice -- and found Hartke.

"We know each other, we take care of each other," said David Arendt, the Public Information Officer for Montezuma Fire and Ambulance. "So we don't want the family to spend Christmas, and all winter, not knowing where this family member is."

Arendt said the support his department received was much appreciated.

"They're all volunteers doing this, and it's just amazing what Iowans will do to take care of each other," he said.

Hartke's family said they're thankful to everyone that has supported them -- to the people that opened their homes, and the crews that searched the frigid water for days.

"Just knowing people are there, it helps," Stumberg said.

The Ranger will be removed from the lake Wednesday.

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