MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 15-year-old boy died after going for a swim with friends in Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis Wednesday morning.
The Hennepin County Water Patrol began searching just after 10 a.m. after a swimmer was reported missing on the east side of the lake.
A group of seven teenage boys heard their friend call for help as he tried to swim out to a raft before disappearing under the water.
Laura Morris witnessed the tragedy.
“When I pulled up the kids were still in the water, and I heard them yelling, ‘This is where we saw him last! This is where we saw him last!'” Morris said. “And by then bystanders, like one woman just whipped her dress off and was in the water. And they were searching. You could hear all the sirens.”
Sonar equipment helped divers locate the 15-year-old. Once his body was recovered, his friends sat in shock and disbelief at the edge of the water.
The head coach of South High’s football team rushed to the scene to try to console his players. Parents of the victim’s friends arrived one by one to take them home, and try to comfort them.
“I have a 15-year-old myself,” Laura Morris said. “As a parent and just as a human, this is devastating to see this.”
Lt. Art Saunders from the Hennepin County Water Patrol says the boys had been out running together before deciding to go swimming to cool off.
It’s not clear why the drowning victim ran into trouble, but he wasn’t wearing a life jacket. There were no lifeguards on duty at the time.
Ray Aponte, principal of South High, said Wednesday that support staff will be available to talk to students and staff members about the teen’s death.
“It is always difficult to understand a loss like this, and it is an especially important time to reach out for support,” Aponte said in a statement.
Lake Nokomis is located in south Minneapolis, just north of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.