A recovery effort resumed this morning for two missing boaters who fell into Blackduck Lake on Tuesday afternoon. At approximately 1:30 p.m. today, the body of Adam Joseph Bobick, 23, of Little Falls, Minn., was recovered in 15-20 feet of water by divers from the Lakes Area Dive Team. At approximately 2:55 pm, the body of Shawn Allen Ramsdell, 33, also of Little Falls, was recovered by divers from the Lake area dive team.
The rescued are identified as: Justin Daryl Anderson, 21 of Little Falls, and Cody James Krueger, 21 of Royalton, Minn.
The two missing men and the two men who were rescued were identified shortly after noon today.
People from a nearby resort witnessed the accident and were on the scene within minutes to rescue two of the men. It was reported they spotted a third person struggling and threw him a floating seat cushion; however, he was unable to save himself.
According to Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp, the wind came up suddenly Tuesday causing extremely dangerous waves.
“It sounds like there was a failure with the boat,” Hodapp said. “The boat got swamped and the back end went into the water. None of the passengers were wearing life jackets.”
Today, the Lakes Area Dive Team based in Cass County and the Itasca County Sheriff’s Dive Team are assisting the Beltrami Sheriff’s Office, Blackduck Fire and the DNR Conservation Officers with the ongoing search and recovery effort. Weather conditions continue to hamper search efforts at the time of this press release.
Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp reported at 9:30 p.m. that the accident occurred at about 4 p.m. Tuesday on the lake, located west of the city of Blackduck about 25 miles north of Bemidji.
The 911 call came in at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday reporting that a boat with four occupants and a dog had capsized on the lake. Occupants of a pontoon near the area were attempting a rescue. Two of the occupants of the capsized boat were rescued, but because of high winds and stormy conditions, it was not possible to locate the other two.
Responders from the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office, Blackduck Fire Department, Blackduck Ambulance and private citizens assisted with the search for the two missing persons Tuesday. Severe weather forced them off the lake at about 9 p.m.
Hodapp noted that Anderson and Krueger were brought to North Country Regional Hospital and later released.
Family members searched throughout the night without positive results. The organized search continued this morning around 7 a.m. with the Lakes Area Dive Team offering their assistance.
The dive team is a cooperative of several area counties including Beltrami, Cass and Hubbard. The team is certified through Dive and Rescue International.
Dive Team Incident Commander, Dan Carlson, said the team is called out mainly for recoveries such as this.
Carlson said that of the 20 members on the team, 12 responded and are assisting in the search.
“We have a lot of guys out there with a lot of diving experience,” Carlson said of the divers who were primarily diving in about 18 feet of water.
“This weather is terrible for the divers,” Hodapp said. “The water is really stirred up – they pretty much have to search by feel.”
Carlson explained that visibility may be one foot or less under the wave conditions the team is dealing with.
Hodapp said along with boats from the Sheriff’s office searching the area, electronic search equipment is being used in the investigation.
“A search area was established yesterday based on the best information we have from the witnesses,” Hodapp explained. “Our deputies marked off an area with buoys the night of the accident.”
Hodapp said as soon as the weather settles down, an air search will be brought in.
Local resident and spotter for the National Weather Service, Robert Roach lives along the shore very close to the scene of the accident.
According to Roach, shortly after the boat capsized, his wife, Laraine, took her kayak out to search the weed line for Bobick and Ramsdell.
“The waves were just so big,” Roach said. “The winds reached about 48 miles per hour at one point yesterday.”
Roach said that he had talked to several of the victim’s family members who were bused over to the nearby shoreline to search for the men. One of the rescued men was also helping.
“The man who survived told me he swears the wave that capsized them was at least five feet,” Roach said.
Roach said he is comforted to see that so many people were trying to do some little part, whether it was coffee and cookies or actually searching. He said he is glad to see everyone pulling together to recover the two missing men.
“I had the chance to pray with one of the mothers who was calling her son’s name late into the night,” Roach said. “She was so sweet, too, she was like anyone’s mom.”
Responding agencies to the search, recovery and care of volunteers effort today included the Blackduck Fire Department, Blackduck American Legion Auxiliary, Deeper Life Bible Camp, White Birch Resort, Tepee Tonka Resort, Lakes Area Dive Team (volunteers who reside in Cass, Hubbard and Beltrami County) , Itasca County Search and Rescue, Bogart’s Towing, Beltrami County Sheriff’s Boat and Water Division, Command Staff, Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, the Beltrami County Emergency Communications Center deployed and manned by the Paul Bunyan Amateur Radio Club, Beltrami County Mounted Posse, Beltrami County Office of Geographical Information (GIS), Bemidji Chapter of the American Red Cross, Beltrami County Community Guard and a number of citizens who donated time and efforts to this tragedy.