Neighbors, 5-year-old head off boat tragedy

Published online: Jun 08, 2010 News BILL McAULIFFE, Star Tribune
Viewed 377 time(s)
 

A cool-headed 5-year-old girl and some resourceful neighbors teamed up to avert what could have been a boating tragedy involving a White Bear Lake family Sunday in Wisconsin.

James Braaten, 31, his two daughters, ages 3 and 5, and a 1-year-old nephew were cruising on Lake Holcombe, about 60 miles northeast of Eau Claire, Wis., on Sunday morning when the 1-year-old fell from the 17-foot runabout.

According to Chippewa County undersheriff Capt. Eugene Gutsch and resort owner Dan McConnell, here's what happened:

The boat was moving at a slow speed near a no-wake zone and the boy was wearing a life vest. Braaten, who was also wearing a life vest, tried to retrieve the boy, but fell into the water as well, apparently knocking the boat's inboard motor into reverse. Braaten grabbed on to the boat, but the propeller severely cut his leg and the boat began moving in backward circles while the 1-year-old remained adrift and crying.

McConnell was alerted by a daughter who was on the Isle Bay Resort dock about 60 feet away from the boat. He and a resort guest jumped onto a pontoon boat and approached the runabout, which had come close to hitting the boy in the water. McConnell said he and the guest shouted to the 5-year-old to pull the key out of the ignition, which she did, stopping the boat. Gutsch called it "a tremendous feat."

"She was a pretty smart, smart little girl," McConnell said.

McConnell and his guest were able to retrieve the boy from the water and the two girls from the runabout. Braaten, who had let go of the runabout, somehow was able to get close to the dock, where McConnell's daughter and a friend were able to pull him to shore. McConnell brought the children to the resort while emergency workers tended to Braaten.

Braaten was listed in fair condition at Luther Hospital in Eau Claire on Monday. Family members declined to be interviewed about the events.

Click to read more: http://www.startribune.com/local/95824334.html?elr=KArksD:aDyaEP:kD:aUnc5PDiUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aU7DYaGEP7vDEh7P:DiUs

You May Also Be Interested In...

March 25, 2015

Restored To Her Glory

If you’re interested in restoration stories, you don’t want to miss this one—which involves a little history lesson to boot.
March 19, 2015

Why You Should Keep Your Smoke Alarms Up To Date

If you want to hear a good argument for keeping your smoke alarms up to date onboard, check out this man’s story according to Cambridge News.
March 11, 2015

Unmanned Houseboat Drifts 165 Miles

You’ve heard of runaway dogs, but have you ever heard of a runaway houseboat?
March 04, 2015

Lake Norris Update: Twin Cove Marina Is Seeing Great Progress

In an admiral show of resilience and dedication, the heavy winter damage at Twin Cove Marina, Carryville, Tenn., is already being tackled by cleanup crews.
February 24, 2015

Norris Lake Boats Suffer Severe Winter Damage

We have sad news—several boats and docks collapsed under the fury of a winter storm in the Norris Lake, Campbell County, Tenn., area this Saturday.
February 18, 2015

Houseboating Opportunities In India

The Times of India brings word that the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) is investigating the possibilities of promoting houseboating in Kochi,a major port city...
Follow us on Facebook!   Follow us on Instagram!   Follow us on Pinterest!   Follow us on YouTube!