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Two drownings are reported near Brainerd

Associated Press

BRAINERD, Minn. -- Two swimmers apparently drowned in unrelated accidents Friday north of Brainerd, authorities said.

Rescuers recovered the body of a 21-year-old Minneapolis man around 4 p.m. from the Lower Mission Lake. Crow Wing County Sheriff Eric Klang said the man had been swimming off a boat with three friends when he cried for help and went under. His body was found 100 to 200 feet off shore.

Also around 4 p.m., authorities pulled a 22-year-old Pine River man from the river at the Pine River Dam about an hour after he disappeared while swimming.

Pine River Police Chief Joshua Ebert said an autopsy would be performed to determine the exact cause of death.

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The names of both victims were being withheld until relatives had been notified.

Ebert said the man was swimming alone, which he did often at the popular city swimming hole north of the Pine River Dam. There are no lifeguards at the site and signs warn swimmers that they are swimming at their own risk.

Andy Knutson, 15, of Pine River, was swimming across the river with his 16-year-old brother, Joe, and three friends and said he saw the 22-year-old man swimming out into the deeper water as well.

Knutson said he didn't see the man in the water when he swam back across the river. About 10 minutes later, Knutson said a woman and her family asked if they had seen where the young man went. His clothes were found nearby.

Ebert said the incident was reported about 2:45 p.m. About 15 minutes later, a State Patrol helicopter flew overhead searching for the man, and his body was spotted in the middle of the river.

Ebert said the man's body was pulled from about a depth of 10-15 feet around 3:50 p.m. by Cass County Water Patrol. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

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