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Troopers locate body of Massena snowmobiler

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MASSENA CENTER — The search for a missing snowmobile rider ended with the discovery of his body in the icy waters of the Grasse River Wednesday morning.

The remains of John S. Favreau, 43, Massena were found in the river by state police divers working in the vicinity of Fregoe Road, troopers said.

St. Lawrence County Coroner June H. Wood authorized removal of Mr. Favreau’s body to Massena Memorial Hospital for an autopsy, which was to be performed Wednesday night.

The recovery of Mr. Favreau’s body came after nearly two days of intense searching by local, county and state emergency crews on land, by water and in the air.

Family members told authorities that Mr. Favreau had left home about 3:30 p.m. Monday to go ice fishing. He reportedly was operating a black 1990s Arctic Cat Jag snowmobile, driving it onto the ice at the boat launch behind the Amvets post on the Snell Lock road.

When he didn’t return, family members reported Mr. Favreau missing about 11:30 p.m. Monday.

That touched off an initial search with airboats and state police helicopters. Crews spotted fresh tracks leading toward a hole in the Grasse River’s icy crust about 200 yards offshore, roughly 1,000 yards from where the waterway enters the St. Lawrence River. They also found a glove and a cellphone near the hole.

Troopers said the snowmobile broke through ice that was 2 to 4 inches thick, plunging into the river with Mr. Favreau still aboard.

Efforts resumed Tuesday morning with St. Lawrence County dive crews responding to the scene.

They used a camera to locate what they believed to be the man’s snowmobile and other possessions in about 18 feet of water, St. Lawrence County dive master Mark T. Smutz said. Ice and poor visibility prevented a county diver from actually reaching the suspected wreckage Tuesday.

State police divers took over the search the next morning, aided by sonar equipment. Mr. Favreau’s body was recovered about 11 a.m. Wednesday near the sunken snowmobile.

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