Man dies after falling from pontoon, being swept under boat

Friends believe he struck the motor while under the boat.
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A man died in a lake near a northern Minnesota resort after falling from a pontoon and being swept under the craft.

The body of Nathen Waldo, 34, of North Branch, was pulled from 30 feet of water on Big Sandy Lake Saturday afternoon, after he'd fallen from the boat at around 11:40 p.m. Friday near the Hillcrest Resort.

He was with a group of male friends on a Misty Harbor pontoon boat, with his friends telling Aitkin County deputies that Waldo had fallen off the front of the boat as it was moving forward.

"Witnesses said that Waldo was swept underneath the boat as it continued forward and believed that Waldo was struck by the motor," the Aitkin County Sheriff's Office said in a news release.

An extensive night-time search was launched, including a search of the shoreline, but attempts to find him were initially unsuccessful.

The St. Louis County Search & Rescue team joined the search Saturday.

The driver of the boat, a 34-year-old man from Maplewood, has been arrested on charges of boating while intoxicated. The local county attorney is reviewing the case for possible charges for criminal vehicular operation.

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