Body of Newport man recovered from lake - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Body of Newport man recovered from lake

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Dive teams found the body of Jacques LeBlanc Monday afternoon following an exhaustive two day search.

Justin LeBlanc joined recovery crews and dive teams on Lake Memphremagog Monday who were looking for his father's body. "It was just another day on the ice for him, he just happened to make a mistake this day," LeBlanc said.

Jacques LeBlanc, 53, went missing after his farm tractor -- which was pulling one of his family's two ice shacks -- went through the ice Saturday near Lake Road. "He just wanted to get this one off -- we only needed one.  He sugars -- just one last thing he had to deal with, so he wanted to get it off," LeBlanc said.

Jacques was only half a mile from shore when the tractor went in. It's the same part of the lake where he grew up. He and his wife operated a dairy farm for more than two decades before they opened the Cliff Haven Farm Bed & Breakfast.

Seeing Jacques moving shanties with his tractor was a familiar site each winter on Lake Memphremagog. He did it to make a few bucks, but he also did it for free to just be a good friend. "He always wanted to be busy -- kind of like a fun job for him. Everybody was happy to come up from New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and he met a whole lot of people. He just enjoyed being around people," LeBlanc said.

The tractor sank in 25 feet of water. Dive teams did not locate LeBlanc's body inside the tractor's cab. He was finally located Monday afternoon.

"The divers are dealing with one -- the cold, two -- the visibility. The water is very murky and anytime when you are diving, just the movement kicks up the sediment on the bottom making it hard to see," said Vt. State Police Lt. Kirk Cooper.

Jacques LeBlanc leaves behind a wife, two children and five grand kids. Justin LeBlanc was lost for words when asked what he will miss the most about his father. "It's hard to just say one thing, he was such a good dad," he said.

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