Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Drowning at Pembles Beach over holiday weekend

On July 5 at approximately 1:30 p.m., the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department was called to an apparent drowning at Pembles Beach on the St. Croix River in Troy Township, approximately five miles south of the Hudson I-94 bridge. 42 year old Lona Yvonne Donahue, South St. Paul, Minn., was swimming there with her 13 year old daughter and a friend of the daughter. The daughter reported to Sheriff's deputies that they were standing on a long submerged sandbar when they were swept further into the river by large waves. The three tried to swim for shore instead of back to the sandbar, and were unable to stay afloat.

Two other beachgoers, Matthew Finley, 19 of River Falls, and Matthew Leick, 23 of Hudson, were able to rescue the juvenile females, but were not able to reach the adult female in time. The heroic efforts of Mr. Finley and Mr. Leick are credited with saving the lives of the two 13 year old girls.

An exhaustive rescue search was mounted for Ms. Donahue Saturday afternoon, followed by a recovery effort for the victim. Rescue workers worked until midnight Saturday night, and reconvened at 9:00 on Sunday morning. Ms. Donahue was recovered at 11:29 a.m. on Sunday morning.

The St. Croix County Sheriff's Department was aided by members of the Pierce County, Wis., Washington and Dakota County, Minn. Sheriff's Departments, as well as the Wisconsin DNR, River Falls, EMS, and the Hudson EMS Dive Team.

This incident remains under investigation by the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department.