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Body of missing boater recovered on Little Pelican Lake in west-central Minnesota

The man's pontoon was found empty and still running Monday night.

A 73-year-old man's body was recovered from a west-central Minnesota lake following a search effort that began late Monday night. 

According to the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office, the search for the man began after 911 dispatch received a call at 9:27 p.m. Monday about a missing boater on Little Pelican Lake. 

The victim, identified as 73-year-old Joseph Eric Wallin, of Pequot Lakes, had gone fishing earlier in the evening and his pontoon was later found with its trolling motor still running. 

A water patrol team launched a boat and began searching the lake, and at approximately 12:25 a.m. Tuesday the man's body was found floating in the water and he was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Circumstances of his death have not been released. 

There have now been six recreational boating-related deaths on Minnesota lakes as of data up to July 7 this year, according to the DNR

  • May 12 - Sauk Rapids man fell overboard and drowned in Island Lake. 
  • May 21 - Illinois man fell overboard and drowned in Lake Louise. 
  • May 29 - Maynard man fell overboard and drowned in Lac qui Parle Lake. 
  • June 7 - Thief River Falls man fell from a watercraft and drowned in Little Vanose Lake.
  • June 15 - Oak Grove man drowned while swimming after leaving a boat on Lake George. 

In addition, a Minnesota DNR conservation officer died after being thrown from a non-recreational boat that was en route to a possible water rescue on Cross Lake on April 19. 

As of July 7, there have been 21 non-fatal boating accidents in Minnesota this year.

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