The body of a 26-year-old Nova Scotia man, who fell through the ice over the weekend on Black River Lake in Kings County, has been found.

Will Lapensee, from New Ross, was snowmobiling when the ice collapsed. It was his first time driving the snowmobile he'd received as a gift the week before.

Members of the RCMP's underwater recovery team found his body at around 11:20 a.m. on Friday, close to where the machine went through the ice.

"We're very thankful, for the family's sake, that this has happened today. It gives them some closure," said RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Clarke of finding his remains. 

'We're very thankful for the help'

She thanked the volunteers who helped with the search.

"I'm sure all of the volunteers are absolutely exhausted. We did have a lot of help this week from a lot of citizens, a lot of volunteer organizations, fire departments," said Clarke.

"Things like that really made things go really smoothly and we're very thankful for the help."

Members of the Wolfville, New Minas and Kentville fire departments, paramedics, Valley Ground Search and Rescue and a Cormorant helicopter provided by the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre all helped with the search. 

Loving father with an easy smile

Glen Higbee, Lapensee's uncle, said his nephew should be remembered as a loving father to his two young children and a man with an easy smile. He said the support his family has received since the accident has been overwhelming. 

Higbee's family will also be accepting donations for a trust fund they're establishing at a bank in New Ross. The family hopes the account can provide some security for Lapensee's children.

Since the accident, RCMP have urged snowmobilers to wear life-jackets while riding on ice.

Higbee said this accident should make people think more carefully about how they use snowmobiles, especially over water, on routes that are unfamiliar, or in poor weather.