Sheriff: Conservation Officer Dies While Searching for Reported Body Near Pine City

Ryan Juntti
Updated: April 20, 2019 11:31 PM

A Minnesota Conservation Officer died after he was thrown from his boat while responding to a report of a possible body in a lake near Pine City.

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The Pine County Sheriff's Office said in a news release deputies were dispatched to Cross Lake, east of Pine City, at about 7:44 p.m. Friday night on a report of a possible body floating in the water. Pine County deputies and the conservation officers responded to the area.

The sheriff's office said the officer and deputies launched a boat into the lake and within a minute of the launch, they were both thrown from the boat into the water. As they swam toward shore, additional deputies procured a row boat from a neighboring property and attempted to rescue the officers from the water.

They successfully reached the deputy and retrieved him, the release said, but the conservation officer slipped under the water before they could reach him.

Barbara Videen witnessed it all right on her shoreline property as rescuers used her boat to reach one of the two men. She describes the deputy being rescued.

"He wasn't able to get him in the boat because the guy couldn't move so they pulled him and dragged him into shore, he couldn't move anything, and they put him right on our beach," said Videen. 

After an intensive search, the conservation officer's body was recovered at about 1:35 a.m. Saturday, according to the sheriff's office. Multiple sources in Pine County have identified him as Eugene Wynn, 43. Wynn has been with the DNR since 2001.

The release said the deputy thrown from the boat was transported to the hospital after he was retrieved, and treated for temperature related injuries and released. Efforts were also made to locate the object initially reported in the water, but those searches were unsuccessful, the sheriff's office said, and without any reports of a missing person, the office said no further searches will be conducted.


Ryan Juntti

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