Man dies after tugboat goes over dam

All three men were crew members from Wisconsin

DRESBACH, Minn. - A 22-year-old married Wisconsin man has died after a tugboat he was on went over the Lock and Dam No. 7 near Dresbach, Minnesota, Wednesday morning.

The Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand says divers found the man's body on the second floor of the Megan McB tugboat around 3:15 p.m.

Two other men, also from Wisconsin, suffered minor injuries. They were transported to Gundersen Health System in La Crosse.

High water and increased current speeds swept the boat through the roller gates on the dam, destabilizing the M/V Megan McB, causing it to take on water, according to a news release from Brennan Marine, Inc.

Tri-State Ambulance got the emergency call around 6 a.m. Winona County Sheriff Chief Deputy Ron Ganrude said the two injured men were on the top of boat when it went over the lock and dam. The man who died, whose name is not being released at this time, was in the middle level of the tugboat when it went over the lock and dam. All of the men were wearing life jackets.


Chief Deputy Ganrude says rescue crews lowered two crew members down from the dam to look inside the windows on the tugboat, which is tipped on its side. Crews also searched along the shoreline of the Mississippi River Wednesday morning. In the afternoon, specialized divers from the Brennan Marine, Inc. found the man's body.

The tugboat is still in the water, as crews do not have a boat big enough to move it to get it out of the flow of the Mississippi River. Authorities say the tugboat was out on the water to help barges because of the high waters and strong current on the Mississippi River. The Megan McB was christened at the La Crosse Harbor on June 22, 2013.

About 16 boats on the water from about ten different agencies helped in the search. The La Crosse County Dive Unit was on scene, along with crews from La Crescent, Onalaska, Winona, Town of Campbell, Dakota, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the DNR, Houston County, La Crosse Fire Department.

SLIDESHOW: Photos of the tugboat that went over Lock and Dam No. 7

Authorities closed the Mississippi River past Houston County up the Mississippi River to Winona. It will be closed until the investigation is "thoroughly done," which does not end once the tugboat is out of the water, Ganrude said.

Stay with as more information becomes available.

In late May, a rented houseboat went over Lock & Dam #7 with 11 people on-board. All were pulled from the water safely.

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