October 30, 2014

13-Year-Old Boy Pulled From Lake Superior; Passes Away

By KBJR News 1

June 11, 2012 Updated Jun 12, 2012 at 7:00 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)--- The 13-year old boy pulled out of Lake Superior, after nearly drowning Monday afternoon, passed away.

13 year old Jeffrey Carlos Watson died at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis Tuesday at 3:49 p.m. after he was trasported from St. Mary's Hospital in Duluth.

Family spokesman, Pastor Gabriel Green of Duluth's Church of Restoration says, "Jeffrey was loved by everyone and will be missed by his community and church."

The teen had reportedly gone under near the Ice House, a landmark just off the lake walk in Duluth's Canal Park.

It was a hectic scene on both land and water as rescue crews searched for the teen who had gone under Monday afternoon.

"He was found with our remotely operated vehicle, which is a mini submarine," Rick Slatten of the St. Louis County Rescue Crew said. "It has a manipulator arm which can grab on to small objects. We grabbed onto his swim trunks and brought him to the surface that way."

Authorites say the teen was in cold waters of Lake Superior for 32 minutes before rescue crews were able to pull him out.

He was taken by ambulance to Essentia Health St. Mary's Hospital where he fought for his life.

"In cold water emersion situations, particularly with young people, their Mammalian Dive Reflex kicks in," Slatten said. "There is a Laryngospasm that shuts off water getting into the lungs and also, their brain needs less oxygen. As we get older, we tend to loose that reflux."

The Ice House just off the lake walk in Canal Park is a popular place for locals and tourists.

People often dive into the water; a risky move since there is no lifeguard on duty.

"I would advise to swim at the beach with the lifeguards," Ron Booth of the Duluth Fire Department said. "There is no lifeguard here and this isn't a swimming beach."

"Always swim with a friend," Slatten said. "Never swim alone, never swim beyond your capability. Watch the weather, watch the mechanics."

Officials say with warmer weather, accidents like are guaranteed to happen more frequently than they should.

"People are out of school, it's hot, they want to get cooled off so they race to the lake and it's easy to get lost of safety," Slatten said. "When the lake is stirred up you don't belong out there."

Jennifer Walch
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