Updated: June 09, 2021 10:36 PM
Created: June 09, 2021 03:00 PM
Searchers have recovered the body of a Superior man from the St. Louis River in West Duluth.
The incident was first reported about 1:55 p.m. Wednesday. Lt. Todd Abernethy with the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office said two children, ages 5 and 8, went underwater while swimming near a sandbar.
“Witnesses said that a 5-year-old and a 8-year-old child were swimming in the water here right out in front of Boy Scout about 25 feet out. They started to struggle in the water. There’s a sandbar. They went over to the sandbar. They started to struggle," said Abernethy.
Bystanders saved both children but 31-year-old Kevin Ingles of Superior who went in the water to help didn't return to the surface. Multiple agencies responded for a search that lasted several hours.
Authorities say the 8-year-old was Ingles' daughter, and the 5-year-old was a friend she had just met.
The sheriff's office says Ingles' body was recovered from the river at 5:20 p.m.
"I've been talking about this for weeks now that someone's going to end up drowning here, and unfortunately, it happened today," said Kerry Lee, who lives close to the scene.
Thanks to Lee's quick thinking, the lives of the two young girls were able to be saved.
When he saw them struggling, he jumped in his boat, and headed out to them.
"I did see the youngest girl out farther, so I went for her first, and when I got to her, it was just like her wrist was sticking out of the water, and she was starting to go down. I was able to grab her, and pull her right up into the boat because she was very light," said Lee.
Lee says he then went over to the older girl, who was closer to shore, but couldn't lift her because he has back and shoulder problems.
"So I strapped a life jacket kind of around her, and also gave her my throw cushion, and I held her next to the boat the whole time," said Lee.
That's when he says a young boy swam out to help bring her in the rest of the way.
Lee says neither of the girls were wearing life jackets when he found them.
Lee wants this incident to serve as a reminder to take proper precautions and be vigilant.
"There is no buoy markers, there's no ropes. There's a deep drop-off. It drops right off," said Lee. "I'm just hoping the state or federal. Whoever is involved with this, or the City of Duluth does something about this situation because it's gonna happen again," said Lee.
Multiple agencies were on the scene, including the St. Louis Co. Sheriff's Office, Duluth Police, Duluth Fire, St. Louis Co. Rescue, St. Louis Co. Sheriff Water Operations, Mayo Ambulance, and the U.S. Coast Guard.
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