A Lake Vermilion water emergency resulted in the death of a St Joseph man on Tuesday..

At around 5:25 p.m., St. Louis County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a water emergency on Lake Vermilion in the area of Greenwood Bay.

Darrell Pfannenstein, 58, of St. Joseph, was pronounced dead, despite life saving efforts by medical personnel, after being found unresponsive in the water.

Earlier, Pfannenstein had been seen next to a water ski in a shallow area of the bay, struggling to get back on the water ski. A nearby resident boated over and offered assistance which was declined.

A short time later, the resident saw Pfannenstein walking toward the shore and again boated over to offer assistance. When he arrived, he found Pfannenstein floating face down and unresponsive, despite wearing a life jacket.

Pfannenstein was taken to the shore where life saving efforts were made. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Responding with the Sheriff’s Office were Greenwood Fire Department, Vermilion Lake Fire, Tower Ambulance, Virginia Ambulance, Life Link III air medical, and the St. Louis County Rescue Squad.

This was the second water emergency responded to by the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office that evening.

Around 8:20 p.m. on Tuesday, there was a water emergency at Little Grand Lake near Sampo Beach in Superior, Wisconsin. The incident involved a 14-year-old male.

Several juvenile males were swimming to a diving dock approximately 75 yards from the shore. One of the juveniles went underwater and never emerged. The other juveniles yelled for help and bystanders on the beach and from nearby boats dove into the water and eventual found the boy in 12-15 feet of water, unresponsive.

The juvenile was transported to an area hospital in critical condition.

“Swimmer inexperience is believed to be the cause of the incident,” according to a press release from the sheriff's office.

Responding to this emergency were Solway Fire Department, Grand Lake Fire Department, St.Louis County Sheriff's Rescue Squad, and Mayo Clinic Ambulance.


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