Tragedy strikes Minnesota family for second time in four years

Ben Anderson died in a snowmobile accident at the weekend, almost four years after his father died in a four-wheeler collision.
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A community in west-central Minnesota is in mourning after tragedy struck a family for the second time in four years.

Ben Anderson, 22, of Hoffman, died on Saturday at Sanford Health in Fargo, North Dakota, from injuries he suffered in a snowmobile accident.

The Grant County Sheriff's Office says it was called after Anderson went through the ice on Olson Lake, in Elk Lake Township, around 1:41 a.m. Saturday.

His friends hauled him out of the water and started CPR until paramedics arrived, but his injuries proved too severe.

The Grant County Sheriff Mark Haberer said that ice conditions in the area aren't dangerous right now, but there is an aerator on Olson Lake currently, which has created a patch of thin ice. Aeration systems can be placed on lakes with permission from the DNR to prevent winterkill of fish, improve water quality, or prevent structures from ice damage.

Anderson was the beloved son of Pat "PA" Anderson, the athletics director of West Central Area Schools in Barrett, who was killed in a four-wheeler collision in July 2016.

News of Ben Anderson's death has prompted a flood of tributes on social media, with the community using the same hashtag, #KnightStrong – after the West Central Area Knights – that spread after his father died three-and-a-half years ago.

The Anderson family pictured in 2016: From left – Ross, Jacki, Ben, Pat, Brooke Anderson.

The Anderson family pictured in 2016: From left – Ross, Jacki, Ben, Pat, Brooke Anderson.

He is survived by his mother, Jacki, sister Brooke, and brother Ross, who described him on Facebook as "the best friend and brother I could ever ask for."

Anderson was a student at North Dakota State University in Fargo, where he was studying agribusiness, and was a graduate of West Central Area High.

The Alpha Gamma Rho - Epsilon Chapter at NDSU paid tribute in a post over the weekend, posting: "Brother Anderson had a positive impact on those that knew him. He will be missed dearly."

Funeral services will be held this weekend, with a visitation between 4-7 p.m. Saturday at Messiah Lutheran Church in Hoffman, followed by a funeral service at 2 p.m. Sunday.

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An emotional tribute to the Andersons has been shared widely on Facebook, having been posted by Angie Hall, a niece and close friend of Jacki Anderson.

Of Ben, she wrote: "A man that walked so quietly, yet had his future so diligently planned out....(but would drop anything for a Bud or Busch Light, a Kona Big Wave or a Captain Coke at the drop of a hat) had a career lined up right out of college [almost a whole year before he would graduate college - also....who can say that??].

"To a young man that walked so humbly....a characteristic he gained from his father....a father that he laid to rest 3.5 years ago and yet kept putting one foot in front of the other to overcome the grieving process and a young gentleman that was so kind....another feature he learned from BOTH his parents.....WE LOVE YOU!"

She adds: "To the rest of us, may we cherish the memories and find comfort knowing that Benjamin Patrick Anderson entered into open arms, not only from our Savior, the Lord, Jesus Christ, but from his own father Patrick Dell Anderson."

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