Authorities recover body of apparent drowning victim in Aitkin County lake

The man apparently jumped off the pontoon boat and immediately began struggling in the water, the sheriff's office reported.


PALISADE, Minn. — A 63-year-old man apparently drowned on Waukenabo Lake near Palisade, Minnesota, Tuesday, Aug. 10, according to the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

The Aitkin County dispatch center received the 911 call at 3 p.m. of a man who went overboard on Waukenabo Lake. The call came from a member of the boating party, all family members from Colorado who are staying at an Airbnb vacation rental on Waukenabo Lake.

William Hinricher apparently jumped off the pontoon boat and immediately began struggling in the water. Lake conditions were windy with small white capped waves blowing from northwest to northeast. Two life jackets were thrown to Hinricher and attempts were made to reach him by hand. Hinricher was unable to reach the life jackets or the outstretched arms, the sheriff’s office reported.

Sheriff’s office personnel launched watercraft on Waukenabo Lake and assisted the family in returning the boat to the dock. The Minnesota State Patrol flew over the lake surface in an attempt to find the missing man.

At 5:30 p.m., Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by St. Louis County and Itasca County Search and Rescue, executed recovery operations until Hinricher was found at 10:15 p.m. Underwater robots were deployed to retrieve the body, which was then transported to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s office for autopsy.

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