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Bystander on dock sees teen struggling in water, jumps in to save him

The teen kept going under the surface near a dam on Otter Tail Lake.
36262 Ottertail Rd, Battle Lake, Minnesota - September 2009

A quick-thinking bystander saved the life of a teenager who became trapped in the water on Otter Tail Lake.

The incident happened Sunday evening near the County Highway 72 dam, the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office said in a news release

The West Central Tribune says two teens, a boy and a girl, began struggling in the water in the bypass. The girl managed to get out but the boy kept going under the surface, the paper reports.

Cooper Hinrichs, from Lidgerwood, North Dakota, saw this unfold from a nearby dock and jumped in, pulling the boy to shore and saving his life, InForum reports.

The sheriff's office credited Hinrichs with helping prevent a drowning.

The office said low water levels have created a dangerous situation in this popular swimming and fishing spot, citing the "unknown hazards" that can often be found around dams and spillways.

This is because unseen currents can quickly pull people into a danger area, dragging them below the surface even if they are wearing a personal flotation device.

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