STAPLES — An 18-year-old man died in a snowmobile crash Saturday, Feb. 29, just north of Staples. It was his first time riding a snowmobile.

The Wadena County Sheriff’s Office was called at 1:24 p.m. to a snowmobile crash on the river just north of the Wahoo Valley Bar & Grill. The caller stated CPR was in progress.

Law enforcement and medical personnel arrived on scene and provided medical care to the snowmobile driver, Paul W. Peterson of Motley.

It was learned Peterson had just left the restaurant with his family to continue riding snowmobile. Peterson took off before the rest of the riders and was found crashed, by his father, less than a minute later. It appeared Peterson snagged a tree with the snowmobile ski and was ejected from the machine. The tree was partially frozen in the river.

Peterson was operating a 2000 Polaris 600XSSP at the time of the crash and it was his first time riding a snowmobile, the sheriff’s office reported.

Lifesaving efforts were not successful and Peterson was pronounced dead on the scene. Peterson was wearing his helmet at the time of the crash and alcohol was not a factor, the sheriff’s office reported.

The sheriff’s office was assisted by the Minnesota State Patrol, Staples Ambulance, Staples First Responders, North Memorial Health Air Care, Brenny Funeral Home, Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office and K&K Towing.