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Spiritwood Lake search: One body recovered, rescue crews to resume search today for drowning victim

Officials search for the body of a drowning victim Monday at Spiritwood Lake northeast of Jamestown. (John M. Steiner / The Sun)

Update: The second body has been found.

Original Story:

Rescue crews are set to resume searching today for the second of two men who drowned shortly after midnight Monday when their canoe capsized on Spiritwood Lake. One body was recovered Monday afternoon.

Sgt. Jason Falk, a detective with the Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office, said the two men were camping at the lake with a third man when the three men went out on the water Sunday night.

“They were just going for a canoe ride,” Falk said around 8:30 p.m. Monday. “ ... We’re still out here now. We’ll be going to (search until) dark, and when it’s dark, we won’t be able to continue the search.”

Falk said the water temperature in the lake overnight was “in the neighborhood of upper 40s and lower 50s,” and believed alcohol played a factor in the accident. He said a remote-operated vehicle was being used in the search and more equipment would be brought to the lake today, including some advanced sonar gear.

“We’ll probably not get out (to search) at sunrise because we’ll have to regroup,” he said. “We’ve got some more assets coming to assist. We’ve got more equipment coming from out of the area to help assist.”

Falk said the Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office will not release any information on the men’s names, ages or hometowns as of Monday night. The rescue crews have requested boaters to stay off the lake until the body is recovered so as not to impede the search.

According to a news release sent out midafternoon on Monday, after the canoe capsized, the lone survivor tried to drag one of the men to shore but was unable to pull him to safety. The man reportedly sank below the lake’s surface and drowned.

The Stutsman County Dive Team searched the scene in an attempt to locate the bodies with the survivor’s assistance. The Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office, Jamestown Fire Department, Jamestown Police Department and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department are also assisting in the search.

The incident is still under investigation and more information will be posted at as it develops.

Sun reporter David Luessen can be reached 701-952-8455 or by email at