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New Rockford man dies after going through ice

NEW ROCKFORD, N.D. -- The body of Michael Hermanson was found Thursday morning on the shore of a small lake east of his hometown of New Rockford, N.D.

Eddy County Sheriff Brandon Maygra said his search team, using snowmobiles, found Hermanson's body at 9:20 a.m. along the shore of Coe Lake, 20 miles east of New Rockford and about one-half mile from where his pickup truck went to the bottom of the lake.

"There's a pressure ridge out on the lake and a stretch of open water, with debris and stuff," Maygra said. "You can't see it until you get up to about 20 yards away."

Hermanson, 53, last was seen early Monday morning leaving New Rockford in his blue Chevy pickup to go fishing.

Magyar put out a missing person bulletin Wednesday. Coe Lake was the first lake his deputies searched, Maygra said.

"He's fished out there a couple times before this winter," he said. "He should have known about that stretch of open water."

The pickup went into the water, and down about 20 feet to the bottom.

"Somehow he got himself out of the water and walked about a half mile to the shore. That's where we found him."

The lake has no public access.

"People just drive off the road, through the ditch to get on there," Maygra said.

There are two or three ice-fishing houses on the small lake.

Maygra had a report that Hermanson had tried the fishing on another nearby lake before going to Coe Lake. He figures Hermanson went into the water on Monday night. He was alone.

The pickup hasn't been retrieved yet because of the condition of the ice and the depth of the water, Maygra said. Equipment from the truck, including a propane tank and a seat cushion, surfaced and led searchers to the find Hermanson's body, he said.

His body was taken to Bismarck Thursday for an autopsy, Maygra said.

The mild winter has meant lakes and streams have frozen over much later than normal, with less ice and leaving many open areas, according to resort owners in North Dakota.