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Two brothers perish while sledding on Raquette Pond

Dan McClelland

Two brothers from the Village of Blasdell in Erie County died Sunday night after their snowmobiles broke through thin ice or met open water in the channel area of Raquette Pond.
Stephen Sattler, 67, and his brother Edward, 64, were operating their sleds across the frozen waterway, and encountered thin ice and open water” when the fatality occurred, State Police Troop Captain Robert LaFountain said in a media report this week.
State Police and State Department of Environmental Conservation police and forest rangers began searching for the men when a family member reported them missing about 6p.m.   The brothers had apparently not been heard from since Saturday evening.
On Monday morning spotters in a State Police helicopter had narrowed down the searcharea to the open water on Raquette Pond.
Capt. LaFountain said the body of one of the brothers was found in about five week of water and the other in water more than ten feet deep about 10:30a.m. Monday.
The staging area for the recovery area was initially set up at the state police barracksat Moody but was moved to the municipal park once the search focussed on Raquette Pond.
“Neither sled was recovered, due to the location within the pond and the treacherous conditions,” the state police official said.
Franklin County Coroner Shawn Stuart had the bodies taken to Adirondack Health in Saranac Lake for autopsies this week.
The brothers had been staying at a family camp in Piercefieldwith other family members, who assisted local and state police and DEC personnel with the search.
The volunteers of the Tupper Lake Fire Department provided support and logistical help to the searchers from the park that morning.  The department also provided hot drinks and hot food for the searchers, Fire Chief Carl Steffen reported this week.
The Free Press this week extends the sympathy of the community to the Sattler family at this time of terrible loss.