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Bodies of Minnesota drowning victims recovered, identified

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region Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

The body of the second of two swimmers who drowned Sunday in Pokegama Lake in Itasca County was recovered Monday night.

The Itasca County Sheriff's dive team recovered the body about 8 p.m. The victim was identified as Nathan Randall Junker, 30, of Grand Rapids, Minn.

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The first victim, who was recovered Sunday, has been identified as Albert John Hermiston, 63, of Grand Rapids.

The drownings have been ruled a swimming accident; no foul play is suspected, nor was alcohol involved, according to Chief Deputy Terry Snyder.

The incident began about 5:30 p.m. Sunday when a fisherman reported to 911 that two swimmers were in trouble. Emergency medical workers, search-and-rescue personnel and sheriff's deputies were called to the lake. One man was found floating face down and brought to shore where resuscitation efforts were started. The man -- Hermiston -- was transported to Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The search for the second victim -- Junker -- continued Monday.

Snyder estimated Sunday's winds had sustained speeds of 25 to 35 mph and gusts of 40 to 45 mph.

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