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Birds partly to blame in deadly snowmobile accident?

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BEAVER DAM -- The investigation continues after one person was killed and five others had to be rescued when their snowmobiles drove into open water on Beaver Dam Lake.

The Dodge County Sheriff's Department says the incident happened Saturday evening.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says birds may be partly to blame for an accident that caused six snowmobile riders to end up in Beaver Dam Lake. One of those snowmobilers was killed, and four others were injured after the riders drove their machines into open water at about 6:30 Saturday evening.

The DNR says the area where the sledders went in was part of a goose hole. "On this lake there is often times places that the geese congregate because of the migration, and they keep the water open.  We refer to those areas as goose holes.  That area was open and some of the snow mobile riders did drive into it," DNR Conservation Warden Heather Gottschalk said.

Gottschalk says this particular goose hole was larger than a football field.  Locals say the snowmobile riders, who ranged in age from teens to 40s, should have been more cautious. "It's because of our temperatures this year.  It's bad all the way around," one neighbor said.

The DNR says Wisconsin lakes are extremely dangerous this winter due to the warm temperatures.  They say the safest way to not get hurt on a lake, is to not go on the ice. "Right now I would have to say just stay off of it.  It's extremely unstable.  We never consider ice truly safe.  You'll never hear us say that, so you are always taking a risk when you go out on the ice," Gottschalk said.

The name of the victim hasn't been released at this time, nor the conditions of those taken to the hospital. Some of the survivors were rescued by nearby ice fishermen who used rope to pull them back onto the ice.

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