A 12-year-old boy died after a snowmobile crash around 2 p.m. Sunday in rural Wabasha County, Minnesota.

The boy struck a tree while "operating a snowmobile on private property" and died at this scene. The sheriff's office launched an investigation into his death.

Nearly 200 deaths and 14,000 injuries resulting from snowmobile accidents are recorded on average annually, according to NRSInjuryLaw. The Department of Natural Resources reported there were 122 accidents between 2021 to 2022, including six fatalities as per KARE11. With the winter season currently in effect and the country's 135,000 miles of snowmobile trails attracting snowmobilers to go out for a spin, the entertainment sport has already claimed several lives, including the revered rally driver Ken Block.

Snowmobile-related fatalities in 2023

Action sports legend Ken Block died on the afternoon of Jan. 2 aged 55 while riding his snowmobile near his Utah home. He was trying to navigate a steep slope causing the vehicle to fall on top of him. The average snowmobile weighs between 500 to 600 pounds, according to SnowmobileHow.

A 55-year-old woman from Minnesota died in the afternoon of Jan. 7 after she lost control of her snowmobile while riding on the Bearskin Trail in Morcom Township of Minnesota. She struck a tree after losing control of the vehicle and was pronounced dead on the scene by responding officers from the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office. "It appeared the female driver, who was the only occupant of the snowmobile, had lost control while navigating a turn, causing her to strike a tree," said a news release from the sheriff's office, DuluthNewsTribune reported. The identity of the woman was not provided by authorities.

On the same day, two snowmobile riders got killed in an avalanche in Grand County, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. One of the victims, a 58-year-old man, was located buried under the snow on the mountain and was given CPR. However, he failed to survive the accident. Emergency search teams found the second victim, a 52-year-old man, on Jan. 8, according to the Grand County Sheriff's Office, ABCNews reported.

A 21-year-old Minnesota woman named Faith Nelson was injured in a snowmobile accident on Paradise Trail in Bradford Township on New Year's Day. She later succumbed to her injuries at the hospital. The driver of the snowmobile, identified as Hunter Melander, was pronounced dead at the scene. "Preliminary investigation indicates that the two went out onto Lake Francis for a brief ride on the snowmobile. Upon exiting the lake, the male driver struck a tree," the sheriff's office said in a press release, which cited "speed and impairment" as possible contributors to the crash, Kare11 reported.

Cold Case
Snowmobile Jonathan Kingslake