Sartell Man Critical After Falling Through Thin Ice While Fishing on Watab Lake

Updated: 11/17/2013 10:37 AM
Created: 11/16/2013 3:23 PM
By: Cassie Hart

A 30-year-old Sartell man was in critical condition after he fell through thin ice, while fishing on Little Rock Lake Friday morning in Benton County.

According to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, a caller reported a person in the water next to some ice, about 200 yards from shore, in the lake in Watab Township around 11:30 a.m.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Rice Police Department, Rice Fire Department, Minnesota State Patrol and DNR Conservation Officers responded to the scene, but they were unable to reach the man, later identified as Joshua Johnson.

By the time rescuers arrived with the proper equipment, Johnson was submerged under the water.

Rescuers later found Johnson in about 10 feet of water about an hour later. He was taken to St. Cloud Hospital where he was listed in critical condition Friday. According to his wife, Beth Johnson's Facebook page, he was later airlifted to the University of Minnesota Medical Center.

She posted on her Facebook page Saturday:

"Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts and prayers for my husband they are much needed please keep them coming. He is still in critical condition and getting the best care possible. At this point we wait it is in gods hands and the amazing team of doctors nurses and so many other people that help and have helped work on Josh just to get him to where he is now. I have hope and the power of prayer is huge."

Officials say the ice on Little Rock Lake was only 1.5 to 2 inches thick near the shore. The Benton County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents in the area to stay off any ice on the lakes.

Photo: Josh Johnson's Facebook page

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