Tragedy on White Bear Lake

Emergency responders searched White Bear Lake near the Lake Avenue shoreline where a man went missing while swimming.

A 43-year-old man was reportedly swimming off a boat on White Bear Lake and went missing Friday, Aug. 20.  The emergency call came in to the White Bear Lake Fire Department at 1:42 p.m. White Bear Lake Fire, Ramsey County Sheriff’s Water Patrol, Ramsey County Sheriff’s Dive Team, Washington County Sheriff’s Dive Team, Mahtomedi Fire Department, and Stillwater Fire Department all participated in the search.  

Emergency responders located the victim in the water approximately an hour after the call, and a firefighter trained as a diver recovered the victim. They used a local resident’s dock to transport him to an emergency vehicle on Lake Avenue. He was brought to St. John’s Hospital but did not survive. The identity of the victim has not been released.

According to eyewitness accounts, the incident occurred in an area of the lake known to be shallow and have weeds. Lake conditions were windy. The other passengers, reported to be coworkers of the victim, waited on the rental pontoon as search efforts were underway. The pontoon was blown into the Lake Avenue shoreline between Morehead and Johnson Avenues before it was retrieved. Keith Dehnert of Tally’s confirmed the boat left in the morning and was due back around 2 p.m. They did not have information about the victim, as another passenger had rented the boat.

Eyewitnesses stated it did not appear the victim was wearing a life jacket.

In response to inquiries from the Press, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s office sent the following statement by email: “This is an active investigation and as such, pursuant to MN Stat. § 13.82, the data is classified as confidential/protected nonpublic and the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office cannot release the full report at this time.”

The Press will report additional information about the incident as it becomes available.


— Amy Johnson

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