A 72-year-old man fishing with his lifelong friend drowned on an Otter Tail County lake Wednesday when their boat capsized.
Robert Schachtschneider, of Longville, Minn., was fishing with his friend on Long Lake, east of Maplewood State Park, when their boat capsized shortly before 1:20 p.m., according to the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office.
The lake was calm, but when Schachtschneider’s friend leaned over to put a fish in a stringer basket, it upset the boat, said Sheriff’s Deputy Jim Iverson.
Schachtschneider and his friend, Steve Leitte, also 72, of rural Fergus Falls, were in a small aluminum boat with no motor and no life jackets, fishing about 30 yards from shore. Leitte told deputies that as he leaned over to put a fish into a basket, the boat tipped, causing him to dive into the water, Iverson said. According to Leitte, the boat then flipped back, apparently causing Schachtschneider to fall in, too, Iverson said. Leitte said he was not sure what Schachtschneider was doing at the moment he leaned over with the fish, Iverson said.
“The victim apparently was not a strong swimmer, but he did have a bucket he was holding onto,” Iverson said. “He made it about 10 yards from the boat when he said, ‘Hey, I’m not making it here.’ ”
Leitte said that he returned to help his friend but that Schachtschneider was facedown and unresponsive by the time he reached him, Iverson said.