Man's body found inside capsized tugboat at Dresbach dam

  • Updated: July 3, 2013 - 5:49 PM
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Rescue workers search the area and attempt to gain access to an overturned barge that went over Lock & Dam #7 at La Crescent, Minn., on the Mississippi River Wednesday morning.

Photo: Jerry Olson, Rochester Post-Bulletin via AP

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DRESBACH, Minn. — Authorities recovered the body of a Wisconsin man who was missing after a tugboat went over the Dresbach dam in eastern Minnesota, and authorities said Wednesday that the 22-year-old never left the boat.

The man had a life jacket on when his body was recovered inside the three-level tugboat. Two other Wisconsin men who were aboard the Megan McB tugboat survived with minor injuries.

The La Crosse Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/17KiJ5S ) that Winona County authorities say the boat lost power right before it capsized and went through the roller gates at Lock and Dam No. 7 early Wednesday. The boat is owned by La Crosse-based Brennan Marine.

Authorities spent hours searching for the missing man, using boats and helicopters, as authorities in Wisconsin and Minnesota searched shorelines. Divers found the man's body on the boat about 3:15 p.m., with the help of a robot with a camera, Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand said. Specialized divers from Brennan also helped. Brand said the search and recovery was risky due to the strong current.

The boat was still lodged on its side against the first roller gate Wednesday afternoon.

Mark Binsfeld, Brennan's business manager, said mechanical problems likely contributed to the capsizing, and high water and a strong current were also factors.

The Coast Guard will launch a formal investigation, and has closed a six-mile stretch of the river to commercial traffic.

The dam is the same place where 11 people were rescued after a rented houseboat was swept over the roller gates and capsized May 27. In 2007, four drowned at the dam when their boat was sucked back into it.

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