Jet Ski Rider Goes Missing at West Battle Lake
Search crews say they will not stop until he is found
WEST BATTLE LAKE, Minn. — A jet ski was found on West Battle Lake Saturday night, but its rider is still missing.
Squad cars with empty boat trailers line the east entry port around noon on Sunday.
This is day two of the Otter Tail County dive team’s search for a missing man, likely in his 40’s.
Several electronic sensors are scanning the lake, looking for a potential body.
“It was kind of in the center, which makes it a challenge because that makes our search area that much bigger,” said Chief Deputy Barry Fitzgibbons with the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office. “So we’re just trying to rule out areas at this point.”
At around 6:00 Saturday night, a jet ski was found empty.
Fitzgibbons says it was roughly between the north and south ends of the lake.
When the rider’s family reported him missing, the search immediately began.
“The weather is cooperating, aside from a little bit of wind,” Fitzgibbons said. “We’re doing the best we can. We’ve got a lot of good professionals out here working today.”
He said accidents like these are not common, but usually happen every year in the county.
They can be prevented by using the buddy system and knowing how to use your water craft.
“Know your surroundings,” Fitzgibbons added. “Always wear a life jacket. Enjoy the lakes, just be safe.”
He told us no part of West Battle Lake is closed off during their rescue operation.
They just ask other boaters and swimmers to stay out of the way of their dive team.
“We haven’t had an issue with that,” Fitzgibbons said. “People are respecting what we’re trying to get done out here.”
With the search only stopping at nightfall, the team stays dedicated to bringing him home.
“It’s our goal to locate this party and get some answers,” Fitzgibbons said. “So we’re going to continue the search until we find him.”
The missing man’s family has been notified.