WINONA, Minn. (WCCO) – Five frigid days have passed since an SUV plunged into the Mississippi River, killing four people.
The deadly accident happened Sunday morning in Winona after Andrew Kingsbury, Matthew Erickson, Christina Hauser and Blake Overland left a local tavern just after 1:30 a.m.
Searchers have spent the week trying to find the body of 29-year-old Kingsbury.
Chief Deputy Ron Ganrude with the Winona County Sheriff’s office has spent several days aiding in the search.
“Most people think the ice is very thick. In actuality, it’s only four inches,” Ganrude said. “The SUV went off into the ditch here, across the bike path here, hit the guardrails, hit the rocks down below and then ended up in the water.”
It wasn’t until Sunday morning that someone spotted the tire tracks.
Emergency crews pulled the SUV from 20 feet of water. They found the bodies of Erickson, Hauser and Overland by Monday afternoon.
“The search has continued each day since,” Ganrude said.
Crews have spent long days in low temperatures, plunging cameras and small robots through the ice to look in the river for Kingsbury’s body.
A blue, portable shack works as a warming house for the almost two dozen searchers on scene.
“We want to make sure we do everything we can for the community and the families, so there’s some ownership here for us, too,” Ganrude said.
Volunteers have come from Iowa and Wisconsin to offer relief to local search teams.
After another day without answers, they will all be back on the Mississippi in the morning.
“We hope to get some closure to this real soon,” Ganrude said.
Kingsbury, Erickson and Overland were all graduates from Lanesboro High School.
Superintendent Jeff Boggs told WCCO that the entire town is struggling with the tragedy.
He says they were terrific young guys with good senses of humor.
WCCO has also learned that Christina Hauser, 36, was married and had a son.