Michael Struck, 39, went missing yesterday when the backhoe he was operating was fell into floodwaters at Seven Mile Creek. Today, deputies recovered his body.
Struck was a nine-year MN-DOT maintenance worker, and he was familiar with the stretch of Seven Mile Creek that took his life. But everything happened so quickly that his coworkers couldn't react in time to help. A search ensued yesterday afternoon, with no luck.
"We were unable to find him yesterday, so we had search crews out again this morning," says Nicollet County Sheriff Dave Lange. "We were able to locate his body about 25 yards of the culvert that goes under Highway 169."[jump]
Yesterday the waters of Seven Mile Creek--which runs along Highway 169 between Mankato and St. Peter--were rising, so MN-DOT sent out crews. Struck was using his backhoe to remove debris from the creek culvert in order to prevent flooding on Highway 169, says Rebecca Arndt, MN-DOT spokeswoman.
When Struck dipped his backhoe bucket into the water, the fast-moving creek pulled in the entire machine. Search crews looked for four hours before turning in yesterday, then resumed the search today.
Struck was a 13-year veteran of the Cleveland volunteer fire department. About a year ago, he received an award for saving the life of a 19-year-old jogger who went into cardiac arrest, Lange said.
He leaves behind a wife and two young children.