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UPDATED: Three rescued from icy Hubbard County lake when hovercraft sinks Saturday noon

A traditional water rescue pontoon couldn't reach the victims of a boating accident south of Nevis Saturday afternoon. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)1 / 3
The victims of a hovercraft accident were hoisted onto a rescue hovercraft Saturday noon. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)2 / 3
The Cass County Dive Team's hovercraft heads to three victims stranded on the ice of Island Lake Saturday. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)3 / 3

A daring and dangerous rescue mission by a platoon of EMTs, ambulance personnel, firefighters and a cold water rescue team successfully pulled three people from the frigid waters of Island Lake south of Nevis Saturday noon.

Ambulance personnel immediately began treating the three, a 48-year-old man, his 20-year-old son and a 19-year-old woman, for hypothermia after the hovercraft they were in broke through the ice several hundreds yards from shore. Authorities said ice popped the craft's air bags, the motor died and the hovercraft began sinking.

Three air ambulances were called in, but all three victims were taken by ground ambulance to St. Joseph's Area Health Services in Park Rapids and were treated for hypothermia.

They were expected to be released later Saturday afternoon. All three victims were conscious and walked to the ambulances with some help from emergency crews.

Rescue personnel said they were in the icy waters 14 minutes after the hovercraft sunk.

Traditional ice rescue pontoons and a paddleboat were unable to reach the three as workers frantically sought to get to the trio. Crews simply ran out of rope to pull the crafts out to the victims.

Rescue personnel and Emergency Management Director Brian Halbasch worked themselves to exhaustion trying to push the crafts out on the ice.

It was a heavy duty hovercraft from the Cass County Dive Team that was finally able to reach the victims.

Numerous agencies responded including Nevis Fire & Rescue, the Hubbard County Sheriff's Department. North Memorial Ambulance, Hubbard First Responders, the Cass County Dive Team and others from Akeley and Bemidji.It was the Walker Fire Department's hovercraft that was able to rescue the three.

Monday they were identified as Kenneth James Thompson, his son James Patrick and Justine Renae Christopherson. They were traveling to an island on the lake where Thompsons have a cabin.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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