An 18-year-old Mendota man died Friday, Feb. 19, after suffering serious injuries in a snowmobile crash on Gull Lake in the Birch Island area, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office reported in a news release.

The sheriff's office received a report of the accident at 11:18 p.m. that day. Deputies and responders arrived at the scene and found a 1997 Arctic Cat snowmobile was traveling on Gull Lake and crashed into the northwest side of the rocky and wooded shoreline of Birch Island. The snowmobile driver was located near the crash scene.

A friend of the driver who was also driving in the area initiated CPR. Continued lifesaving efforts were conducted on scene and the driver was transported via helicopter to St. Cloud Hospital where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy is scheduled with the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office and an investigation continues.

Assisting on scene were the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office, Pillager Police Department, Pillager Area Fire and Rescue, North Memorial Health Ambulance and AirCare.

This was the fourth serious snowmobile crash reported in Cass County this month, the news release said. Sheriff Tom Burch reminds all riders to use extreme caution on trails and lakes, especially in areas they may not be familiar with, and offered the following snowmobile safety tips:

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  • Never ride alone.
  • Dress for safety and survival.
  • Slow down and stay to the right on the trail or ditch.
  • Don’t drink alcohol and ride.
  • Use caution when traveling on frozen waterways.
  • Always respect private property.
  • Stay on the marked trail systems.