Dad Drowns While Rescuing Son On Bass Lake

SPICER, Minn. (WCCO) — It’s difficult for a family to make sense out of what happened on a Minnesota lake Tuesday night.

Forty-five-year-old Daniel Suter and his 6-year-old son went out fishing. When the little boy fell off the pontoon boat, Suter went in the water to help. The boy made it to shore, but Suter didn’t.

“He had such big dreams for this place and it’s sad to see it will all come short,” said Jacob Reich, Suter’s brother-in-law.

Reich said Suter was living the good life. He was married with two kids and after spending years in the Twin Cities, the Suter’s had recently moved into their dream home on Bass Lake in Kandiyohi County.

“[He was] so full of life. So fun and caring. Such a great guy. He loved his kids very, very much. It’s tough this had to happen to someone so nice,” said Reich.

Just before 7 p.m. Tuesday, Suter took his 6-year-old son fishing on the family’s pontoon. At one point the 6-year-old fell in without a life jacket on. Suter jumped in to rescue him, but never resurfaced. His son swam 20 feet to shore and told his mom what happened.

Before emergency responders could arrive, family members tried to find Suter themselves.

“I jumped in and I saw his shoe floating while I was swimming and looking for him. The rescue crew arrived after a little bit and after about five minutes they found him,” said Reich.

But they couldn’t revive him. The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office said Dan Suter drowned in about eight feet of water, and just feet from his son. It happened in the backyard of the house he hoped to watch his kids grow up in. For his family, it will never be the same.

“Just a beautiful place and now there will be a damper on things. It’s hard to look at it the same way again. It’s very sad,” said Reich.

Sheriff Dan Hartog said Suter was not wearing a life jacket. The investigation into what happened is on-going, but at this point Sheriff Hartog does not believe alcohol was a factor.

A memorial fund has been established for the family, called the Suter Family Benefit Fund. The benefit account has been established at the Kandiyohi Bank Office of Atwater State Bank, P.O. Box 338, Kandiyohi, MN 56521.

More from John Lauritsen
  • So Sorry

    So sad… condolences to the family.

    Ineviteably you hear stories like this every year living in MN :(

    I am curious as to why the boy made it but the father didn’t? I wonder if he didn’t hit his head or something? Or was the father not a strong swimmer and just reacting off fatherly instincts?

  • Denver Don

    I can’t imagine what that poor kid will have to deal with after this, so sad.

  • Gloria

    My condolences to the family. And please wear your life jackets.

  • Hannah

    We live on a lake and are always aware of the dangers involved with having little children on the dock, near the water and on the boat. We won’t even let our grandchildren on the dock without wearing a life jacket.

  • The Outdoorsman

    The only solace I can imagine taking from this event, is that I bet the instant the man dove into the water after his son, he would have traded his own life for the safety of his son’s without question or hesitation.

    A tragedy nonetheless, as this son will now be without the man who would give anything and everything at a moment’s notice for him out of the love he had for him, and died proving it…

  • SG

    Why in the world to people insist on not wearing their life jackets? I grew up around the water and am a strong swimmer but still wear one when out on a boat. Such a needless tradgedy.

  • Nancy Aleshire

    Please everyone wear a life jacket when you swim in any lake or river. It makes no difference how good a swimmer you are–you never know how strong the current is, or when you may get tired. I may swim lengths in a swimming pool, but if I am in a lake or river, I wear a life jacket.

    • Question

      Which lakes are you swimming in that have a strong current?

  • Father Drowns Saving Son « CBS Minnesota

    […] [WCCO: Local] Share this No comments // […]

  • Jeanie

    Dan was a wonderful man and so is his wife. They adopted their two children from Russia a few years ago. Dan gave his life to save his adopted son. My prayers are with Gail and her family. This is horrible!

  • Sharon Nelson

    We always have our Grand kids in life jackets. We have been living on a houseboat on the Mississippi for over five years. Even in the winter the kids put their jackets on before they’re out of the car!!

  • Sharon Nelson

    Just a reminder the river has current especially this year with high water. Please use this story as a reminder that there was only one special Dad called Dan, wear a jacket!!!

  • Mark from

    Truly unconditional LOVE. My prayers are with the family

  • Mark from

    @PL What mistake did this great father make? He, without thought jumped in the water to save his son, that is not a mistake. That is unconditional love not a mistake.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Thursday Night Football

Listen Live