Body found of man reported missing near Lake Wisconsin

 The body of a man reported missing near Lake Wisconsin has been found, along with the utility terrain vehicle he was driving, according to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

Officials believe he was traveling along the river near the Merrimac ferry Sunday evening when he went in.

Divers have been searching the area where the UTV's tracks ended since yesterday. 

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COLUMBIA COUNTY (WKOW) -- The man reported missing after last being seen on Lake Wisconsin could have accidentally gone into the water, according to Columbia County Sheriff Dennis E. Richard.

Searchers followed tracks of the utility terrain vehicle the man was driving to the edge of the water, according to Richard. The sheriff said that the UTV tracks stopped at the water, however no other tracks indicating someone would have tried to get out of the water.

"This is always at troubled area, by the railroad trestle," Richard said. "I have the utmost respect for the river and I'm not afraid to say I'm afraid of the river."

It would have been nighttime when the men would have traveled back in the area and the ice in that area likely wasn't thick enough to hold the UTV.

"It appears to be a terrible accident that took place," Richard said.

Volunteer divers currently are searching the water where the vehicle was last suspected to be, and they will continue searching until day's end.

The search area is near the southern boat launch of the Merrimac ferry. Authorities are asking motorists to avoid the area.

The Portage Daily Register reported the sheriff's office got the report Monday that a man was last seen Sunday evening. He left an establishment on Lake Wisconsin and was driving his UTV Authorities tell the newspaper they think he may have broken through the ice.

The sheriff's office, Lodi and Merrimac Fire Departments searched for the man Monday night, along with dive teams. The search was postponed because of safety concerns.

The Portage Daily Register says crews plan to search again Tuesday morning.

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