June 19, 2012: Teen drowns trying to swim the St. Croix River channel at Hudson
An 18-year-old Lake Elmo, Minn., man drowned while trying to swim St. Croix River from the end of Hudson's dike road to the Minnesota shore late Monday afternoon.
Alexander Cook was about 50 yards into the 200-yard channel when he began to struggle in the water, Hudson Police Chief Marty Jensen said.
The teen reportedly tried to return to the Wisconsin shore, but was unable to make it.
Jensen said Cook slipped under the water and disappeared before the other young males he was swimming with could reach him.
Police said Cook went into the water wearing jeans. He was said to be swimming with his brother and friends.
The Hudson Police Department, Hudson Fire Department and St. Croix EMS/Rescue were dispatched to the scene just before 5 p.m. Monday. A St. Croix County emergency dispatcher reported that the swimmer had been under water for 10 minutes when the 911 call came in.
A couple of hundred mostly young people were at the beach at the end of the dike road enjoying the sunshine and a temperature in the upper 80s when Cook went missing.
Divers from St. Croix EMS and Lower St. Croix Valley, Mahtomedi and Scandia in Minnesota also arrived on the scene quickly in an attempt to rescue the youth, Jensen said, but weren't able to find him because of the poor underwater visibility and swift current.
Jensen told Twin Cities television stations Monday evening that the divers could see only a foot in front of themselves.
Distraught family members of the drowning victim arrived on the scene at about 5:30 p.m. The Hudson Police Department began removing beach-goers and other pedestrians from the dike road at 6:20 p.m.
At 6:40 p.m., Hudson Fire Chief Jim Frye was heard over police radio saying that the search was being turned over to the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department as a recovery effort.
Chief Jensen said Cook's body was retrieved from the river by divers at 11:44 p.m. Monday and taken to O'Connell Family Funeral Home in Hudson.
The St. Croix County Sheriff's Department, with assistance from Washington County, Minn., sheriff's deputies and a Wisconsin DNR warden, were able to locate the body using a side-imaging sonar, Jensen said.
He said it didn't appear that alcohol or drug use were a factor in the drowning.