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March Mania

Beltrami, Minn., woman dies in Maple Lake, one of five recent Minnesota lake deaths, two weekend near-drownings

A Beltrami, Minn., woman died early Sunday after falling into Maple Lake near Mentor, Minn.

According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Cindy Hanson, 55, was seen jumping off a pontoon boat about 1:45 a.m. Sunday on Maple Lake, which is just south of Mentor.

The sheriff's office, Mentor's fire and rescue crew and Polk County emergency crew responded, deploying boats.

At about 2:45 a.m., Hanson's body was located and brought to shore.

Efforts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful. Her body was taken to UND's medical school for a forensic autopsy.

Mentor is about 50 miles southeast of East Grand Forks and about 25 miles southeast of Crookston; Beltrami is about 12 miles south of Crookston.

Hanson's death was one of five drowning or possible drowning deaths on Minnesota inland or border lakes since Thursday. Also, there were two near-drownings.

More lake deaths

- The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of an Ely, Minn., man who was found dead in the water near his cabin on Burntside Lake.

Daniel Frank Scufsa, 50, was last seen late Thursday. He was found dead Friday.

The sheriff's office said his death is not considered suspicious, but it will remain under investigation until autopsy results are available.

- Authorities said a Mankato man who drowned in a popular swimming spot has been identified.

Capt. Rich Murry, of the Blue Earth County Sheriff's Department, said Madi Omot Nyigow, 23, was swimming with friends Saturday at Hiniker Pond.

He was seen going under shortly after 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Mankato police recovered him just before 7 p.m. He was pronounced dead at a Mankato hospital. Murry said an autopsy will be done.

- Authorities have identified a man who died in a western Hennepin County lake near Medina, Minn.

The medical examiner said Sunday that Charles Dollar, 67, drowned Thursday on Lake Independence. His death was ruled an accident.

Dollar was reported missing Thursday night after going fishing alone that morning. His boat was later found adrift. A diver found his body in about 6½ feet of murky water Friday.

- The search for a 38-year-old man who fell overboard on Lake Pepin was suspended Sunday evening because of impending darkness and stormy weather.

The lake is a wide spot on the Mississippi River on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.

The Pierce County (Wis.) Sheriff's Department was notified of the missing man about 6:15 p.m. Saturday. The man had been boating east of Bay City, Wis.. His wife reported she saw him fall overboard, jumped into the water to try and save him, but saw him go under water. The 36-year-old woman swam to shore and walked to a residence to call for help.

Searchers recovered the boat Saturday. The victim's name has not been released.

2 near-drownings

- A Minnesota man and his two dogs survived a harrowing trip over a dam on the swollen Mississippi River.

The Buffalo County (Wis.) Sheriff's Department said John Amundson, 49, of Winona, took his dogs boating Saturday afternoon above the Alma, Wis., lock and dam when his motor quit.

He tried to paddle clear, but the current was too strong, and it pulled him into the dam. He put on a life jacket and grabbed a seat cushion as he went over. His boat capsized, but he floated to the surface and climbed the wall to safety. He rescued his dogs with the help of lock workers and a game warden.

- Authorities have pulled a girl from Cedar Lake in Minneapolis. The girl was submerged for nearly 40 minutes Sunday afternoon. The Hennepin County sheriff's office is calling the incident a "near-drowning." The girl was playing on a floating dock and did not reappear after jumping in the water.

Witnesses called 911. Emergency crews reached the scene 10 minutes after the girl went under. They performed CPR at the scene before transporting her to a hospital.