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U.P. man dies in boating accident

August 24, 2008
The Mining Journal

LAKE LINDEN - A Laurium man died in a boating accident on Big Traverse Bay Saturday, after his boat sank in high waves during a fishing tournament.

Dan Kotajarvi, 42, was found floating by rescuers after his 16-foot boat sank with two other men on board, said Bootjack Fire and Rescue Chief Dan Sarazin.

Sarazin said the men were trying to head to shore after weather on the bay became rough, but two waves broke in quick succession over the boat, sinking it.

The men sent out a mayday signal on a marine channel before the sinking, bringing two other fishing boats to their rescue at about 11 a.m.

All three were pulled aboard, and the fishermen began CPR on Kotajarvi. They brought him to shore, where Bootjack and Mercy Ambulance personnel began treatment, but Kotajarvi was pronounced dead at Keweenaw Memorial Hospital, Sarazin said.

"A wave broke over the back of their boat, and it killed the motor and swamped the boat," Sarazin said. " A second wave hit the boat and sank it pretty much immediately."

The men had no time to grab life jackets, and instead used a floating fuel tank and cooler to stay afloat, he said.

The other two men, Scott Reed of Tamarack and Bill Bessner of Lake Linden, were treated for hypothermia on the scene and released.

Another small boat was reported missing in the fishing derby. The fishermen in that boat, James Goldsworthy of Lake Linden and his son Andrew, made their boat back to shore after it was partially swamped by waves, Sarazin said.



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