Skip to main content

Frightening experience on Lake Minnetonka: 'Turn around! We're sinking'

Water had risen a foot within five minutes of launching on Saturday.
Screen Shot 2020-04-26 at 8.19.56 AM

"Turn around! We're sinking." Those are the last words anyone wants to hear while boating in the middle of a lake, but it's precisely what Bring Me The News food blogger Lindsay Guentzel heard from her boyfriend on Saturday. 

John Bjorklund and Guentzel launched a 1987 Skiff Craft – a handmade wooden boat – from Sufside Park on Lake Minnetonka and while Bjorklund, a boat mechanic at Bayside Marine in Excelsior, was checking the engine he noticed water coming in. 

At first, the rate of the incoming water didn't concern him. But about a half mile from shore with the bilge pump not putting a dent in the now-fast-rising water, Bjorklund instructed Guentzel to turn around because, as he said, "we're sinking." 

Bjorklund estimates there was at least a foot of water in the boat within five minutes. 

"John has worked on boats since he was in high school and he knew we wouldn't make it back to Surfside," said Guentzel. "So our immediate plan was to get as close to shore as possible – so if we had to get in the water, we wouldn't be out too deep."

Guentzel put out a call for help on Twitter while Bjorklund began making phone calls. 

Fortunately, they were able to beach at a home near Waterbury Road and begin saving the boat. They received help from Bjorklund's brother, who was on the lake installing docks and had a barge with a crane to lift the boat out of the water, along with a friend who met them with extra pumps to remove water from the boat. 

The cause of the leak was a split in the seam on the hull. 

"I was astonished by the people who reached out to help us," said Guentzel. "People who don't know us who saw my posts and wanted to help. Social media is the ultimate crowdsourcing and I'm always amazed by the wonderful people who reach out when help is needed."

Guentzel said their moment of "pure panic" was a reminder of how boating, while deemed a safe activity so long as social distancing guidelines are followed during the coronavirus stay-at-home order, "can go from safe to unsafe very quickly." 

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Next Up

St. Louis County

St. Louis County set to declare state of emergency ahead of peak flood levels

Volunteers are urgently needed for sandbagging efforts in a small community near Voyageurs National Park.

Screen Shot 2022-05-16 at 5.03.30 PM

Brothers Bar & Grill closes in downtown Minneapolis

The Midwest chain closed its St. Cloud location in 2018.

Ken Jeong

Licensed physician Ken Jeong to do standup in MN this September

The licensed physician will take the stage at Treasure Island Resort and Casino on Sept. 30.

Osseo Police Department

Osseo PD says officer did not pursue suspect who caused fatal crash

The crash happened in Brooklyn Park early Sunday morning.

221 Main Street. E. Albert Lea

Suspect arrested after 3 family members stabbed in Albert Lea

The three victims are related, according to police.

wastewater

Evidence that omicron strains BA.4 and BA.5 are in Minnesota

The European CDC has warned of a possible significant summer surge fueled by the omicron subvariants.

driving unsplash - crop

Hastings man charged for driving drunk with 2-year-old in vehicle

Matthew Quade's BAC was almost five times over the legal limit when police pulled him over last week.

police lights

Arrest made after person shot at Hopkins apartment building

Police say this was an isolated incident and that the victim and suspect knew each other.

covid

BA.2.12.1 omicron subvariant quickly becoming dominant in MN

Experts say the subvariant is more transmissible but there is not evidence to suggest it causes more severe disease.

Related

Screen Shot 2020-04-02 at 10.42.15 AM

'Ice Out' officially declared on Lake Minnetonka

It marks the start of what is sure to be a really weird boating season.

hennepin county sheriff water patrol lake minnetonka

Boating season begins as ice-out is declared on Lake Minnetonka

An ice-out is declared on Lake Minnetonka when officials can clear all bays and channels without ice obstruction.

'High water' declared on several Hennepin County lakes

It'll affect anyone taking a boat onto the water.

Ice-Out declared on Lake Minnetonka.

Boating season arrives as Ice-Out declared on Lake Minnetonka

This Ice-Out is late-ish, but not the record-setter we saw last year.

hennepin county sheriff

1 dead after boaters thrown overboard on Lake Minnetonka

The incident was reported just before 10:30 a.m.

20200508_tonkatom

Man who drowned in Lake Minnetonka remembered as 'Tonka Tom'

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the man's son.

Screen Shot 2020-05-15 at 11.25.37 AM

Rainforest Cafe founder loses suit over dock on Lake Minnetonka

Steven Schussler and his wife sued Minnetonka Beach over the municipal dock.