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6-year-old girl drowns at popular MN swimming pond

A day at the beach turned tragic in Lake Elmo.
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A 6-year-old girl drowned at a popular swimming pond in Lake Elmo on Sunday afternoon.

The girl, identified as Ghia Vue of St. Paul, was pulled from the water at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve swimming beach at around 1:17 p.m., according to the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

Attempts were made the resuscitate her as she was taken to Regions Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The incident is under investigation by the Washington County Parks Department and the sheriff's office.

KSTP reports the girl was found by Greg Zeits, of Hudson, Wisconsin, who was wading in the water with his granddaughter when he felt something by his feet.

"It's obvious she was unconscious and not breathing," he said. "I tried to give her breath as I brought her to shore."

The 2-acre, man-made, chlorinated swimming pond only opened for the season the previous weekend, according to the Washington County website, and the water there is only 4-feet deep.

The pond reopened last year after a $1.3 million renovation and, according to the Pioneer Press, is one of the most-used swimming spots in the state.

Water deaths in Minnesota

Lisa Dugan of the Minnesota DNR told GoMN there have been seven confirmed drownings in Minnesota so far this year, but once they've completed reports from other counties that could rise to nine-pus, not including Ghia Vue's death from this weekend.

Deaths on Minnesota’s lakes and rivers rose last year, according to recent statistics released by the Minnesota DNR.

There were 57 boating fatalities and non-boating drownings in 2016, up from 53 in 2015, 43 in 2014, and 42 in 2013.

It was the deadliest year for boating fatalities and drownings since 2011, when there were 66.

There were also more non-fatal boating accidents last year than there have been in a single year since 2007, with 79 people injured in 2016.

Washington County parks have a number of rules for swimming beach users, including that children six years of age and younger should be accompanied by an adult in the water.

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