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Researchers were to continue to search for a Kentucky doctor on Friday who allegedly tipped off a steep cliff in Lake Cumberland on a zero-turn lawnmower.
Researchers found the mower in the lake near the base of the cliff, but could not find Dr Robert Supinski, said Captain Troy McLin of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office.
Supinski’s house overlooks the lake in the Slate Branch area. The yard is flat but borders an approximately 150-foot-high bluff that slopes steeply down to the lake, McLin said.
Supinski, who was in his mid-60s, was mowing his yard Wednesday afternoon.
When his wife didn’t hear the mower, she went out to look for Supinski, then called the police, McLin said.
There were traces in the yard indicating the mower had gone through a fence and over the cliff, McLin said.
The researchers rappelled down the cliff but could not find Supinski. They later found the mower in the lake, in about 20 feet of water, McLin said.
The mower was a large Exmark model with a roll bar on the seat and a seat belt.
Supinski had been strapped in, but the seat became detached from the mower at some point during the accident. It was missing when researchers found the mower, McLin said.
The seat is somewhat buoyant, so it may have helped carry Supinski down the stream after entering the water, McLin said.
Members of the Somerset-Pulaski County Rescue Team, employees of the Kentucky Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and others unsuccessfully searched Supinski’s body on Wednesday and Thursday, including diving into the lake.
McLin said a volunteer search organization called Bruce’s Legacy arrived in Somerset on Thursday evening and planned to join the search for Supinski’s body on Friday.
The organization has specialized equipment for underwater research, including sonar.
Bruce’s Legacy, based in Wisconsin, is named after Bruce Cormican, a firefighter who died attempting to retrieve a drowning victim, according to its website.
Supinski, an orthopedic surgeon, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh Medical School in 1980 and graduated from Kentucky in 2011, according to the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure.
State records show he did not renew his license after February 2020 and was inactive as a doctor.
Supinski was injured when a wave hit a boat and overturned it while he and members of his family were fishing on the high seas, McLin said.