A snowmobile crash that claimed the life of a teen during a safety class was caused by the sudden acceleration of the machine, officials said Monday, Oct. 28.
According to an Associated Press report by the Iron Mountain Daily News, 13-year-old Sarah Thorsland, of Osceola, Wis., was negotiating the slow-speed training course outside Osceola High School Saturday when she quickly veered off the track and crashed into a loading dock.
Thorsland was airlifted to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., and died Sunday at nearby Gillette Children's Hospital.
What caused the snowmobile to suddenly accelerate isn't known, police said. The machine is outfitted with wheels on its skis for use on blacktop and was being used by 42 trainees last weekend.
The class, in its 31st year, is sanctioned by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Thorsland's death was the first in the history of the program.
The incident is under investigation.
"Safety is our highest priority," DNR Warden Todd Schaller, chief of the agency's Law Enforcement Bureau's Recreation Education and Enforcement Section, said in a statement. "We do not take Saturday's tragic loss of Sarah lightly in any way.
Osceola is on the Minnesota/Wisconsin border, about 50 miles from Minneapolis.