Searchers have recovered the body of a state transportation worker who was washed away with his backhoe into turbulent waters in southern Minnesota a day earlier, authorities said.

Michael J. Struck's body was found Wednesday, said State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske. Details of the recovery were not immediately available.

Struck and his backhoe went into the water as he was clearing debris from a creek culvert that feeds the Minnesota River between St. Peter and Mankato.

Struck, 39, was a nine-year employee of the Minnesota Department of Transportation and a member of the volunteer Fire Department in Cleveland, Minn., a Le Sueur County community of about 700 people -- and home to at least three generations of Struck family members.

In a statement issued by MnDOT, the Struck family thanked the department, the State Patrol and others who participated in the search and rescue effort.

"Our family is devastated by this tragedy, and Mike will be sorely missed by many," the statement said.

Earlier this month, Michael Struck's brother, Andy R. Struck, 37, of Shoreview, lost a battle with cancer.

Divers were unable to enter the water at the time of Struck's accident because the current was too strong.

Struck is Minnesota's first flood-related death since June 11, 2008.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482