A drowning occurred on Mille Lacs Lake April 14 near Iskigamizigan Landing in Vineland.

According to the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office, a boat had capsized on Mille Lacs Lake with reports that people may be in the water, which is approximately in the high 30s this time of year. Mille Lacs County Sheriff Don Lorge said that it appeared there were four individuals in a small aluminum boat when the boat was overtaken by waves causing the boat to capsize.

The capsized boat belonged to John Holmquist, 35, Garrison, who was setting nets with three others when the boat took on water and became partially submerged approximately 200 yards offshore.

With no rescue boat available, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe members, Curt Kalk and Luther Sam, launched a privately-owned boat to assist with search and rescue. Kalk and Sam found three of the boaters and brought them to the landing where they were taken by ambulance to Mille Lacs Health System in Onamia.

After continued searching, Kalk and Sam later found Holmquist who was not responsive or breathing. At the landing tribal police and tribal community members began CPR on Holmquist until EMS arrived and took over care. Holmquist was transported to Mille Lacs Health System in Onamia where he was later pronounced dead.

There were also unidentified good Samaritans who assisted in retrieving the individuals from the water, added Lorge.

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Tribal Police, Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office deputies and search and rescue, Onamia Police Department and Mille Lacs Health System emergency services all responded to the incident.

Sheriff Lorge sent his condolences to the Holmquist family. He added that the Tribal police did an outstanding job in the recovery.

Holmquist is a Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe member and the brother of Mille Lacs Tribal Police Chief Sara Rice.

Mille Lacs Band Commissioner of Natural Resources Katie Draper said in a press release Thursday, “This is a tragic event for our community. Our hearts are heavy. This is a time for our communities to come together and be respectful to those who are grieving.”

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