17-year-old drowns in Quarry Park and Nature Preserve

17-year-old drowns in Quarry Park and Nature Preserve

17-year-old drowns in Quarry Park and Nature Preserve

A 17-year-old is dead after jumping from a 10-foot-tall cliff and drowning on Tuesday.

The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office says they were called about a possible drowning at Quarry 11 inside Quarry Park and Nature Preserve in the City of Waite Park, at 4:21 p.m.

Witnesses told authorities a 17-year-old boy had jumped off a 10-foot-tall cliff into the water but never resurfaced. Witnesses also attempted to dive in and find the teen, but they weren’t able to find him.

Members of the Stearns and Benton Dive Team, along with the Waite Park and St. Cloud Fire Departments, then deployed boats and searched the quarry.

The teen was found around 8:45 p.m. in 31 feet of water.

The 17-year-old is the third person to drown in the park’s two swimming quarries in recent years.
Last August, a 23-year-old man died after diving off a cliff, and in the summer of 2021, an 18-year-old drowned after jumping from a floating dock.

“These instances are they’re super tragic. Our hearts go out to the family, our condolences to the family. It’s just a very tough situation,” reacted Stearns County Parks Director Ben Anderson.

“It’s definitely concerning to us. We’re watching it. our ultimate goal is zero, right?” Anderson added about the number of deaths.

Parks staff and sheriff’s deputies patrol the expansive park every day, he added. There are also warning signs posted around the swimming areas, but there are no lifeguards.

The rock formations that make the park so popular also add some risk.

“And these quarries are super deep,” Anderson said. “That goes from zero to 20 to 30 feet as you jump off the side of that cliff.”

“We always encourage people, especially out here at Quarry Park, to look before you leap. We always encourage people to wear life jackets no matter what your swimming level, and always swim with a partner,” he added. “For the most part, as long as you’re doing that you should be pretty good for not hitting underwater hazards.”

On Thursday, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office identified the 17-year-old as Emmanueal Seward Jr. of Brooklyn Center. They also stated that the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office determined Seward’s death to be an accidental drowning.