1 dead, 14-year-old in critical condition after separate water incidents in northern Minnesota

A 58-year-old man died and a 14-year-old boy is in critical condition after two separate water incidents Tuesday in northern Minnesota. 

Possible drowning on Lake Vermillion

The first incident occurred in a shallow bay on Lake Vermillion in Greenwood Township at 5:25 p.m., where a man who had earlier been struggling to get back on a jet ski was found unresponsive in the water. 

According to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office, a nearby resident on the lake had seen the victim, identified as Darrrell Pfannestein of St. Joseph, standing in the water next to the jet ski struggling to get back on. He went over with his boat to offer his assistance, but the Pfannestein refused his help. 

A short time later, the same boater saw Pfannestein walking in the water towards shore. He decided to boat over to offer him assistance again, but when the boater approached the area, he saw Pfannestein floating face down in the water, unresponsive. He was wearing a life jacket. 

Pfannestein was taken to shore, where first responders performed life-saving measures, but he was eventually pronounced dead.

His death remains under investigation. 

Near drowning on Little Grand Lake 

The second incident occurred near Sampo Beach on Little Grand Lake in Saginaw around 10:19 p.m. 

The sheriff’s office said three young boys were swimming out to a diving dock approximately 75 yards off shore. At some point, one of the boys, a 14-year-old, went under water and never emerged. 

The other boys began yelling for help and bystanders from the beach and from boats in the water nearby dove in and began looking for the boy. 

Bystanders located the victim at the bottom of the lake under approximately 12 to 15 feet of water. He was unresponsive. 

The victim was taken to a nearby hospital, where he is in critical condition. 

The sheriff’s office said “swimmer inexperience” is believed to be the cause of the incident.