Woman drowns, man feared dead in lake mishaps
WALKER, Minn. -- Two separate drownings are taking a toll on this small north-central Minnesota town.
The Cass County sheriff's office said Monday that LaRae Olson, 50, died Sunday night on Long Lake when she was struck by a boat while snorkeling around 6 p.m.
And rescuers were scheduled to resume searching Leech Lake today for Curtis Christopherson, 42, who was presumed to have drowned while he was trying to save an 11-year-old girl who fell overboard.
"When you lose two residents out of a population of 1,064, it has a profound effect on you," Walker City Administrator Stephen Michel said.
People who knew Olson said she loved the outdoors and often swam or rode her boat along Long Lake.
"The woman was a saint who never hurt anyone," said Steve Dodj, owner of Woker Chow Mein, where Olson ate at least twice a week.
Sheriff Randy Fisher said Christopherson dove into the lake to help the girl around 4:45 p.m. Sunday, but because of bad weather and boat malfunctions, the two became separated from their boat. The girl was wearing a life jacket and survived.
Search efforts were hampered Sunday night by bad weather, Fisher said. Cass County deputies using sonar and aided by dive team members were on the lake Monday searching for Christopherson.
A sheriff's dispatcher said Monday night that the search was not successful and that it would resume today.