BEMIDJI - Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp announced the safe rescue of a boater Sunday, Aug. 22, by 14- year-old jet skier.
At approximately 3:30 p.m. Sunday, the Beltrami County Law Enforcement Center was notified that a swimmer, 28-year-old James Wheeler of Bemidji, had entered the water to recover a lost article from a pontoon boat and then became separated from the boat during heavy winds on Lake Bemidji. Wheeler jumped into the lake to recover a towel which had blown from the pontoon boat. After recovering the towel, Wheeler attempted to swim back to the pontoon boat, which was not anchored and was being blown away from the swimmer in heavy waves. The waves on the lake pushed the pontoon boat farther and farther away from Wheeler, and the passengers on the pontoon boat were unable to throw any sort of flotation device to Wheeler. They were also unable to start the pontoon to return to Wheeler's location to pick him up.
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