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Three Bodies Found After Van Falls Through Ice

Divers pulled three bodies from a frozen lake Tuesday before suspending their search for a fourth person presumed drowned when a van plunged through the ice.

Three other people in the ice-fishing group managed to get out of the van as it broke through the ice and sank Monday. It was about a mile off shore on the Lake of the Woods.

The van was following a trail on the ice that had been used by other vehicles heading out to fish. Glenn Voytilla, owner of the River Bend Resort, said the ice is 23 inches thick in some areas but thinner in others.

Wintry weather and equipment problems forced divers to suspend their search until today.

The victims were two couples from Beaver Dam, Wis.; Donald and LaVerne Kutcher, both in their 60s, and Henry Gahlman, 71, and his wife Ellajean, 65.

“Every year when it freezes over, we anticipate that something like this will happen,” said Nancy Swenson of Lake of the Woods Ambulance. “Our nightmares have come true.”

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