Canoe carrying three fisherman sinks on MN lake, one drowns

There have been nine boating deaths on Minnesota waters this year.

A fishing trip to a Minnesota lake ended in tragedy on Thursday morning when a man drowned after his boat flipped.

The man was one of three anglers who were fishing in the canoe on Jane Lake, near Lake Elmo, in somewhat blustery conditions with white caps visible on the surface.

The canoe became flooded with water and only one of the three men were wearing a life jacket, the Washington County Sheriff's Office said in a news release.

A lakeside resident noticed their distress and went out to meet them on his own boat. He was able to get two of them on his boat – including the man with the life jacket – but was unable to reach the third in time.

The Sheriff's Office Water Patrol and several fire rescue units responded to the scene, and found the man underwater a short time later. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

His identity has not been revealed, but he's in his 20s and is a resident of Washington County.

Police said that alcohol didn't play a role in the accident.

Boating deaths in Minnesota

As of June 12, there had been eight boating deaths recorded in Minnesota in 2017, this is three more than the same period last year, according to the Minnesota DNR. Thursday's drowning would make it nine for the year.

DNR spokeswoman Lisa Dugan says this means the boating fatality number has already passed the 10-year average for the first six months. Of the first eight who drowned, all of them were men above the age of 30.

"The number of life jackets worn is still unknown but past statistics show an average of 90 percent of boating fatality victims were not wearing life jackets," Dugan told GoMN.

There have also been eight non-boating drownings recorded during that same period, which is a drop from 13 last year.

There were 17 boating fatalities in total in 2016, the second highest number in the past decade.

The DNR regularly reminds lake users to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vest when they head out onto the water. The DNR said 10 lives could be saved each year in Minnesota if people wore a life jacket.

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