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One dead after boat capsizes in Lake Superior

WDIO
Updated: September 30, 2019 05:52 PM

The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office says one man is dead after a boat capsized in Lake Superior Monday morning.

Authorities say three men were aboard the 21 foot Monark Aluminum Hulled boat when it capsized around 11:00 a.m. The men attempted to swim to a nearby shore but one was became unaccounted for.

Duluth Firefighters later found the third man, identified as 68-year-old Donald James Sarter of Sturgeon Bay, in shallow waters off the end of Park Point near Sky Harbor Airport. Despite lifesaving efforts Sarter was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to one of the men involved, all were wearing life jackets at the time but not zipped together in the front.

The other two were picked up by a private party, and transported to local area hospitals. They walked away from the scene with no apparent injuries.

“We had a very good response overall, as far as having a lot of our government agencies involved, and the communication was smooth. We were able to locate the boat pretty quickly, we are hoping for the best,” said Coast Guard task force leader Lt. J.G. Daniel Rynard.

The sheriff’s office says all three men worked for Roen Salvage of Sturgeon Bay. The boat they were in is owned by the company.

A red flag warning was issued Monday morning. Duluth Fire Assistant Chief Clint Reff described the weather conditions as unsafe.

“Winds were 12 to 14 miles an hour and waves were two to four feet high so conditions weren’t well for our personal watercraft. They were being thrown around quite a bit out there,” said Reff.

DFD’s Marine 19 and Marine 1 were dispatched to the Minnesota side of the Wisconsin entry at the time of the incident. Additional Duluth Fire crews began walking the shoreline off of the Minnesota Point trail to locate Sarter. The Duluth Fire UTV was brought on scene to help with the beach rescue.

The Duluth Marine Safety Unit is leading the investigation on the cause and recovery of the vessel.

Fire companies 251, Rescue One, Two Engine, Four Quint, and Engine 7 responded. Duluth Fire was assisted by Saint Louis County Sheriff’s Department, U.S Coast Guard, Duluth Police Department, and the Duluth Airport Authority. Duluth Fire would like to acknowledge Northland Constructors and Wren Works LLC for their assistance with the call.

The incident is under investigation by the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office.

Courtney Terlecki

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