Body of missing backhoe operator found

Published 6:37 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2011

ST. PETER — Authorities have found the body of a missing Minnesota Department of Transportation worker whose backhoe was pulled into floodwaters in south-central Minnesota.

The Nicollet County Sheriff’s Office says searchers recovered the body of 39-year-old Michael Struck of Cleveland about 12:45 p.m. Wednesday. His body was found in about 10 feet of water about 25 feet from Highway 169. The Ramsey County medical examiner will conduct an autopsy.

Struck, a nine-year MnDOT employee, had been clearing debris near Seven Mile Creek Tuesday when his backhoe tipped and he fell into floodwaters between St. Peter and Mankato.

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Sheriff’s deputies and Department of Natural Resources officers spent Tuesday and Wednesday in boats slowly looking around Seven Mile Creek Park.