Boat burns, hunters soaked in 3 separate incidentsOctober got off to a dangerous start on Goodhue County waters, with authorities being called to three boat-related incidents in as many days.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
October got off to a dangerous start on Goodhue County waters, with authorities being called to three boat-related incidents in as many days.
In all, one boat caught fire and five hunters entered cold Mississippi River waters between Friday and Sunday.
The first call came at 11:15 a.m. Friday when a boat operated by Charles Poncelet caught fire after launching from the Hok-Si-La boat landing.
Poncelet, of Goodhue, told officers he was taking the recently purchased 1992 boat out for its first ride with his son when the engine killed. He attempted to restart the motor, heard an explosion and saw flames.
Fire quickly engulfed the boat, so he and his son grabbed floatation devices and jumped in the river. They swam about 50 yards back to shore, where they arrived safely.
Lake City firefighters extinguished the blaze.
The next call was placed at 9:54 a.m. Saturday when a father and his two sons fell in Mississippi backwaters on Espen Lake. According to initial reports, Jerry Plein, Red Wing, and his sons all stood up on the boat as birds approached, making the watercraft unstable.
The boat capsized, but a nearby boater, Edward Krawiecki of Red Wing, witnessed the incident and motored over. He helped load the hunters on his boat, which also contained his daughter. Out of room on his boat, Krawiecki entered the water and made his way to the overturned Plein boat and perched there until sheriff's deputies arrived.
The soaked hunters were temporarily placed in a Red Wing ambulance, where they warmed up. There were no injuries.
The last call came at 7:26 a.m. Sunday after a Hastings hunter fell off his boat on Spring Creek Lake in the Mississippi backwaters.
Deputies said the hunter, Alan Waleski, had stood up in his 8-foot Jon boat after spotting a goose when he lost his balance. The boat quickly took on water after the fall.
Waleski's son, who also on board, threw his father a flotation device, and began bailing out the boat. After spending about 30 minutes in the water, Waleski made his way back into the boat.
Authorities were called as the boat reached land near the Red Wing Public Works building.
Deputies said Waleski suffered hypothermia during the incident. He was transported by Red Wing ambulance to Fairview Red Wing Medical Center where he was treated and released, a hospital spokeswoman said.