Man dead after payloader sinks in icy pond, police say

The driver of a piece of farm equipment died on Wednesday, Jan. 13 when the vehicle, a four-wheel payloader, sank upside down in an icy pond in the Schoharie County town of Wright, according to the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office.

A press release issued by Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond reports that county authorities responded to a 911 call at a private pond located on an icy, steep slope in Gallupville on Rickard Hill Road between Pickett Hill Road and Abrams Road at 4:43 p.m. on Wednesday.

First responders from the county sheriff's office as well as the Gallupville, Berne and East Berne Fire Departments and the Central Bridge Rescue Squad worked for hours at the scene, according to the press release.

At 7:25 p.m., a tow truck managed to remove the payloader from the pond, and its operator was found dead in the cab, police say.

The driver, who had been transported to Albany Medical Center for an autopsy, has been identified as 54-year-old Gary Schultz, according to CBS 6 Albany

Desmond told several news outlets that Schultz had missing for several hours on Wednesday afternoon before the payloader was found in the pond.

After an investigation, Schoharie County Coroner Matt Coltrain ruled Schultz's death as accidental.