Scott County Water Rescue on Lake Odowd
SHAKOPEE, Minn - A 17-year old boy is in critical condition after going under water for about a half hour in Lake O'Dowd before divers found him Friday afternoon.
"I don't ever want to see it again," said witness Nick Stolt.
Stolt was just about to take his boat out of the water when Scott County Sheriff deputies asked for his help in finding the missing boy.
"I'm glad I could help. It's a tragedy. That's what it is," he said.
He drove two deputies out to the northern part of the lake where they found the boy in about seven feet of water not wearing a life jacket after he was swimming with friends.
"They looked back and did not see their friend at which point they called (911)," said Captain Jeff Swedin.
Investigators say the victim may have swum into a thick patch of seaweed, but they don't know if that caused him to go under. Rescue crews rushed him to St. Francis Regional Hospital after giving the boy several minutes of CPR on scene.
It is that scary scenario in Scott County that has Hennepin County offering up free life jackets to kids on Lake Minnetonka.
"We provide the jackets for them, no cost, no charge. It doesn't get any easier than that," said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek.
The jackets are available on loan at Gray's Bay, Spring Park Bay and Maxwell Bay. You have to return them but it is on the honor system.
So far 11 people have drowned in Hennepin County lakes this year, more than half of last year's total.
And like seatbelts in a car, authorities say life jackets are just as important in the water.
"It doesn't matter about your swimming skills, doesn't matter if you're young or old. It happens and they're all tragic and they're all preventable," said Stanek.
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