9 Boaters Rescued On Lake Winnebago

What started as a “search and rescue” attempt Sunday night ended up with nine boaters making it to shore off of Lake Winnebago.

The Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Department was alerted Sunday just after 7:50 p.m., by a person who had been on a pontoon boat with eight other people, when the boat began to sink. The caller reported seven of the nine were accounted, but that two members of their party were still missing.

The caller stated they were in an area of Lake Winnebago known as “Fraction Island”, when their pontoon boat bottomed out and began taking on water, partially sinking.

Seven of the boaters made it to the island.

Requests for boats were made to the DNR, the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department, as well as a helicopter from the Coast Guard Air Station. in addition to the FDL County Sheriff’s Department boat already in the water.

A number of nearby boaters and jet skiers were able to transport the seven back to safety, while the two other missing members were found to have swam safely to another separate island, known as Long Point.

Preliminary investigation shows the pontoon boat, operated by a 73-old Van Dyne man, was traveling through a shallow area and hit bottom and began to sink.

There were no injuries reported.

The boat remained in the water at the scene, and will have to be retrieved by the owner.