Chicago man thrown overboard to his death after boat hit a wake on Kabetogama, sheriff says

He was thrown overboard after the boat hit a wake, and the operator was arrested.

A man police believe was boating drunk hit a wake on a northern Minnesota lake, throwing a passenger overboard to his death.

The duo, both from Chicago, were in the boat on Kabetogama Lake in Voyageurs National Park Wednesday afternoon, the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office said in an email news release. 

Around 4:53 p.m. the sheriff's office responded to a water emergency at Park Point Resort, which offers cabin and boat rentals for anglers wanting to fish Kabetogama.

Wlodzimierz Dziechciowski, a 66-year-old from Chicago, had been thrown from the boat when it hit the wake from another boat, according to the sheriff's office. Dziechciowski was pulled back into the boat while unconscious in the water.

First responders arrived and attempted to save his life, but he died at the scene.

The man operating the boat, a 55-year-old from Harwood Heights, Illinois, was arrested and booked Wednesday night. The sheriff's office suspects him of boating while drunk.

He has not been charged as of Thursday morning. GoMN does not name suspects before they've been charged.

Boating while drinking

2017 was on pace to be one of the deadliest years for boating in more than a decade.

The legal alcohol limit for boating is the same as for driving a car – 0.08 – and if you're caught boating while drunk, you could face a hefty fee, possible jail time, or lose your boating license for 90 days, according to the DNR.

Booze is also the leading known contributing factor in recreational boating deaths and is one of the most common factors in boating accidents nationally, U.S. Coast Guard statistics show.

In Minnesota, alcohol was a factor in nine of the 17 fatal boating accidents (that's 53 percent) in 2016, according to the DNR.

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