Chanhassen man ID'd as boater who drowned after being thrown overboard on Lake Minnetonka

The boaters encountered rough waters on May 4. They weren't wearing life jackets.
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hennepin county sheriff

The man who died after being thrown overboard on Lake Minnetonka on Monday has been identified as a 64-year-old Chanhassen man. 

According to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office, Thomas Walter Lang died due to drowning at 12:42 p.m. on May 4. The manner of death is listed as an accident.

Lang was boating with another man on Lake Minnetonka's Gideon's Bay in the City of Tonka Bay when they encountered rough waters and were thrown from the boat at around 10:25 a.m., the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office said the day of the incident. 

The other man swam to a buoy where he was rescued by another boater. Lang's body was later recovered by divers. 

Neither man was wearing a life jacket. 

“Our condolences go out to the family and friends of the person who lost their life in this incident,” Sheriff Dave Hutchinson said in the May 4 news release. “It is especially tragic when this happens when people are engaged in an activity like boating, which can be so peaceful. The sad lesson of this is the importance of always wearing a life preserver when you are out on the water.”

The Minnesota DNR's website says more than 30% of boating fatalities in Minnesota happen in cold water when the victim is not wearing a life jacket, adding that falls overboard and capsizing are the most common cause of boating fatalities in the state.

In 2019, there were 10 boating fatalities in Minnesota, with none reported on Lake Minnetonka, according to Minnesota DNR statistics. The year prior, there were 14 boating fatalities, including one on Lake Minnetonka. In that incident, Erick Neil Martin Barbieri-Astorga, a 40-year-old Shorewood man, drowned after falling overboard from his boat, which was found circling on Sept. 15, 2019, with no one on board. His body was discovered the next day. He was not wearing a life jacket.

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