Man dies, 14-year-old boy critical in separate water incidents in northern Minnesota

The man was found unresponsive in shallow water.
Publish date:

A man has died and a 14-year-old boy is in a critical condition in a hospital after separate incidents on northern Minnesota lakes.

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office says the incidents happened just hours apart on Tuesday evening, with the first in the Greenwood Bay area of Lake Vermilion around 5:25 p.m.

There a man was found unresponsive in the water of a shallow part of the bay, face down while wearing a life jacket. He was taken to shore, but died despite lifesaving efforts.

He has been identified as 58-year-old Darrell Pfannenstein, of St. Joseph, Minnesota.

A resident had earlier seen him standing in the water next to his jet ski as he tried to get back on. The resident offered to help but Pfannenstein declined.

A short time later he was seen walking in the water towards the shore, and the same resident decided to boat over and offer to help. As he approached he saw Pfannenstein was unresponsive in the water.

Boy critical after swimming accident

A few hours later, at 8:19 p.m., emergency responders were sent to Little Grand Lake near Sampo Beach, northwest of Duluth.

A 14-year-old boy had been under the water for "multiple minutes," with bystanders having removed him from the lake when first responders arrived.

CPR and lifesaving measures were carried out, before he was taken to a hospital, where he is in a critical condition.

It happened after three boys were swimming out to a diving dock about 75 yards off shore, with one of them going underwater, prompting the other two to yell for help.

The boy was found about 12-15 feet underwater by bystanders who came from the beach and nearby boats. 

"Swimmer inexperience is believed to be the cause of the incident," the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office said.

Next Up