Press release provided by Aitkin Independent Age
A 34-year-old man from North Branch has died after falling from a pontoon boat on Big Sandy Lake in Aitkin County on June 11.
According to a press release from the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Department, the county dispatch received a 911 call reporting a man overboard on the lake at about 11:40 p.m. on June 11. The McGregor Fire Department and Aitkin County deputies responded with boats.
The deputies made contact with a group of men on a Misty Harbor pontoon boat, who said Norman Waldo had fallen off the front of the pontoon boat as it was moving forward.
Witnesses said Waldo was swept underneath the boat as it continued forward and believed Waldo was struck by the motor.
The release said extensive attempts were made to search the water in the area the witnesses indicated they’d been. Deputies and fire department responders also searched the shoreline but were unable to locate Waldo.
The following day, St. Louis County Search and Rescue joined the search. Waldo’s body was found late Saturday afternoon, June 12, in about 30 feet of water.
The driver of the boat, Joshua Mark Harvey, 34, of Maplewood, was arrested on charges of boating while intoxicated. The Aitkin County Attorney’s Office will review the case to determine whether there is probable cause to charge Harvey with criminal vehicular operation. Harvey remains in the Aitkin County Jail pending his first court appearance.