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Published April 07, 2012, 10:28 AM

Crews scramble to save children after sailboat capsizes

DEBS – Three young children are hospitalized after the sailboat they were in capsized Friday afternoon. “It’s not a very good day today,” Clearwater County Sheriff Mike Erickson said

By: Pioneer staff report, Bemidji Pioneer, Bemidji Pioneer

DEBS – Three young children are hospitalized after the sailboat they were in capsized Friday afternoon.

“It’s not a very good day today,” Clearwater County Sheriff Mike Erickson said.

Two of the children were taken by ambulance to Sanford Bemidji Medical Center. The other child was taken to Bagley and then airlifted to a Fargo, N.D., hospital.

At 6 p.m. Friday, Erickson said emergency personnel were still performing CPR on the children, ages 8, 6 and 2. The children were unresponsive when rescue crews pulled them from Clearwater Lake, which straddles Beltrami and Clearwater counties.

Sheriff’s officials from both counties were notified about 3:15 p.m. about the capsized boat. The children’s father, who had been in the boat when it capsized, swam to shore and summoned help, according to Erickson.

A helicopter had been called to the scene but returned to Bemidji without patients.

The children’s father also was treated by rescue crews on the scene.

“Physically, he’s fine,” Erickson said.

In addition to sheriff’s officials from Beltrami and Clearwater counties, emergency personnel from Sanford Bagley Ambulance, Bemidji Ambulance Service, Clearbrook Fire Department, Clearbrook Police Department, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, North Country First Responders and others responded to the call.

The lake, west of Debs and north of Leonard, is south of the Bagley Lake State Wildlife Management Area.

The air temperature around the time of the incident in the area of the lake was at 59 degrees, with southeast winds at 22 miles per hour.

The DNR has cautioned boat motorists and recreationalists anxious to hit newly-thawed rivers and lakes across the state.

People should consider the potential danger of cold waters, including cold water shock and hypothermia that can result from tipping into the water, according to the DNR. Even though the air may feel warm, water temperatures may still be in the 40s or lower.

No other details were available Friday.

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