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Man dies after falling from pontoon, being swept under in Aitkin County lake

The boat's driver has been arrested.
Credit: KARE 11
Big Sandy Lake

AITKIN, Minn. — After a man was swept under a pontoon Friday night died, the boat's driver has been arrested on charges that he was boating while under the influence.

According to the Aitkin County Sheriff's Office, an 11:40 p.m. 911 call told dispatchers that a man had gone overboard on Big Sandy Lake near Hillcrest Resort. 

Deputies said the men on the boat told them that their friend, 34-year-old Nathen Waldo of North Branch, had fallen from the front of the pontoon boat while it was moving. They said he was swept underneath the boat and thought he had been struck by the motor.

Crews with Aitkin County weren't able to find Waldo on Friday. On Saturday, June 12, search and rescue crews with St. Louis County joined the effort. Waldo's body was eventually found that afternoon in about 30 feet of water. 

The sheriff's department said Saturday night that the boat's driver, a 34-year-old man from Maplewood, was arrested on charges of boating while intoxicated. The Aitkin County Attorney's Office will determine whether there is probable cause to charge him with criminal vehicular operation.

The driver is currently in jail in Aitkin County pending his first court appearance, according to the sheriff's department.

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