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WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 04, 2011, 06:20 PM

Search continues for man who drowned in Long Lake

Long Lake, MN (WDAY TV) - A Detroit Lakes man is still missing after crews spent last night and most of today searching a Becker County Lake. The man is believed to have drowned after jumping off a boat and being hit by it.

A search that started at dusk last night turned into a full day of searching for a man who friends say was the "kinda guy who would plow your driveway in the winter," going above and beyond for loved ones.

Sheriff Tim Gordon – Long Lake, Becker County: " The family's you know, as you can anticipate extremely distraught, they've had a tough 18 hours..."

Gordon says Sunday evening 4 people were out on a boat,..

Sheriff Tim Gordon: "They were jumping from the pontoon and swimming, whether they hit the boat or the boat ran over them we don't know. What we do know is there was a boat strike."

Families with lake homes around the area didn't want to go on camera, but told us after diving into the water, one man didn't resurface. They tell us there was frantic shouting to turn the boat around, before boaters quickly headed to shore and alerted police.

Around eight this morning drivers dropped into the water, methodically searching down 42 feet of cold water where the victim was last seen.

Sheriff Tim Gordon: "Every diver out there, we have so many recoveries through the years, so they are very experienced. "

Muddy waters are making it difficult for divers, and police say conditions are dangerous."

Sheriff Tim Gordon: "It's getting pretty demanding, its deep water and its cold so we are below the thermocline. If you notice we've been an hour on, an hour off just to get their body temperatures up."

Dives like this are a complicated process, with trained volunteers with 15 to 35 years of experience working hard to recover the victim despite daring boaters.

Sheriff Tim Gordon: "We've got people who have no idea what the dive flags or buoys mean. They shouldn't be operating the vehicle."

For now, family members are sitting on the banks of Long Lake, watching, waiting for any signs that their loved one will be located.

Crews are exhausted from the heat, and the searches are suspended for the day. Starting around 8 AM, rescue teams will resume with more, advanced equipment.

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