A woman and a girl believed to be her daughter died after their boat overturned on Saturday afternoon, sending them into the cold water of a wind-whipped lake in western Minnesota.
The accident on Lac Qui Parle Lake transformed a picturesque lake near the South Dakota border known for walleye fishing into a sad scene after strong winds and rough waters capsized the boat.
"There's not a lot of high-speed boating or jet skiing on this lake, so not many accidents out here," said Shannon Larson. "It's a surprise."
Larson is an avid boater and fisherman who won't mess around when it comes to water safety. In fact, his 8-year-old son was wearing a life jacket before the boat was even taken off the trailer.
"The water is only 63 degrees, I believe," Larson said. "It doesn't take too long and you've got a problem."
On Saturday afternoon, winds were a big problem for the three aboard the small boat that capsized amid white-capped waves that kept crashing down. The vessel flipped over at about 3 p.m. near Boyd landing, a secluded public boat launch. Larson told FOX 9 News he was on a nearby lake at the time and said the conditions were similar.
"I would say 25-30 mph wind on Big Stone where we were," he estimated. "Easily 3-foot waves for sure, if not bigger."
Authorities have not yet confirmed whether the three victims -- a man, woman and child -- are members of the same family, and it is unknown whether they were wearing life jackets. Rescuers rushed them to area hospitals after pulling them from the water, but the woman died Chippewa County Hospital and the child passed away at a nearby facility. More information about the identities of the victims and the rescue efforts are expected to be released in the coming days.
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